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Delirium? - Carers UK Forum


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I recently joined this group and reported that my Mum had recently been discharged from hospital after breaking her femur. She went on to develop anxiety and depression. Well, this week on Tuesday she has been readmitted to hospital having re-fractured the same leg. She didn't fall, her bones must just be so fragile that they couldn't take the pins and metal plate that the surgeon used to repair the break. This in itself is bad enough news, however she has now become really disturbed and confused mentally, so much so that she is not the Mum we know and love. She is paranoid, and suspicious and it is just so heartbreaking to see her. I have spoken to the doctor who thinks it could be delirium, and he said that this is fairly common, and temporary. They plan to operate tomorrow and to do an assessment of her mental state afterwards. I was wondering if anyone had experience of anything similar happening to their loved one?


Hello, So sorry to hear about your mum, & good luck tomorrow I have no idea what ''delirium'' is & have no experience of it but I am sure someone somewhere will have an answer. your mother sounds very poorly god bless her & you keep it all together & good luck with all things. You could try the NHS websites for such inquiries as this I what i always do when I am baffled by something - which is most of the time really, or ask your doctor - the consultant who diagnosed this condition should really have made sure you knew his or her diagnosis - but I know how it is we trust the medical people & rarely question what they say or do, & are usually too exhausted to find out more. Your not alone in this.
Take care & good luck with your mum's operation tomorrow I hope it all goes well. God bless.
Hi Lapwing,

I have just looked up delirium as although I have heard of someone being delirious, I hadn't realised it was a medical term.

In a nutshell it said that physical illness and also surgery can lead to this state of confusion and that usually as the cause is treated the person gets over the delirium in about a week.

S has never been diagnosed as having delirium, but when he has been very unwell he has exhibited many of the symptoms and has become "himself" again once the physical illness has been effectively managed.

I hope the operation goes well and they get her pain under control (evidently some pain meds can make delirium once - but since the doctor has diagnosed delirium, he should be aware of this,) then she should become more herself again.

Hello Lapwing - so sorry to hear about your mum.

My husband (for different reasons) has suffered with delirium and I hope the website of the link I've added below helps.

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice/p ... irium.aspx

I do hope the op went well and your mum is on the road to recovery. Image
Hi lapwing, hope things are getting better for you and your mum. I have never heard of delirium as a medical illness, but when, a while ago, my mum was in hospital with a broken hip, the same thing happened to her. They said it was confusion due to a urine infection, which apparently is quite common with elderly people who are bed ridden even for a short time. You could insist on a test, and if you are not happy with the way that they are dealing with your concerns, you are entitled to ask for a meeting with the ward manager.
Good luck,
phoebe x
My father in law had an operation for bowel cancer when in his 80's. One day my husband came home very concerned about his dad's mental state, he told my OH that the rats came out from under the skirting board in the hospital every evening. It was an ultra modern place, so highly unlikely. I think it was because of the medication he was on, once home, there was no sign of any problem.
My MIL broke her spine and was convinced that Chinese men were breaking into the hospital and were stealing her money Image I was told at the hospital that it was quite common. (Not people stealing money that is Image )
Sorry to hear about your Mum Lapwing. I've never really looked up the meaning of delirium but I do remember when my dear Miss Daisey fell and broke her hip she was mentally 100% when I left her at the hospital. The next day she was "spelling" out load continuously. The medical team told me that it was often the case that elderly people became confused after a tramatic experience.

Hope Mum improves soon.

Bell x
This kind of confusion often seems to arise when an elderly person has an infection of some kind. My father was like this when he had a urine infection... he said he could see insects crawling all over his pyjamas. Rather interestingly, he asked if I could see them, then added that he knew I probably couldn't and that his mind was playing tricks on him. This from someone with dementia and a MMH score of just 20/30 now - quite perceptive of him, all things considered. Image However, things did get worse... one day he was packing up his clothes, desperate to leave the hospital as he said his firm had been working there but because they'd gone bankrupt the staff wanted him gone! Image He was absolutely convinced and said he felt like jumping out of the window! I did my best to reassure him, explaining he has plenty of cash, he retired years ago and his business never failed. But he was adamant. I called in the doctor to reassure him, which helped a bit. Anyway, for a while it seemed all his marbles had gone missing, but once he was home again some of them returned, though a fair number seem to have gone for good. That's the way of this horrid disease.