Oxford University Press
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Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 2021, pp. 764-772
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Delirium is the most common and serious neuropsychiatric disorder experienced by people with advanced illness. It leads to significant morbidity, and significant distress for the person themselves, family members and staff. Delirium often bodes of a poor prognosis and can significantly interfere with pain and symptom control. Unfortunately, delirium is often under-recognized or misdiagnosed in the palliative care patient, and even when recognized, it frequently goes untreated or is inappropriately treated. Clinicians who care for patients with advanced illness must be able to diagnose delirium accurately; undertake appropriate assessment of aetiologies and consider their treatment with due consideration of treatment goals and illness trajectory; and individualize the pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to support delirium recovery, maximize patient safety, and reduce distress from symptoms.

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