AARP has teamed up with the Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative (GEDC) to publish two new videos designed to educate and raise awareness about the serious and costly issues of dementia and delirium in healthcare settings, particularly emergency rooms.
While dementia is a condition that develops over many months and years, delirium is a sudden change in mental status, or sudden confusion, which often affects older adults following hospital admission or surgery. In fact, delirium is the most common surgical complication for people 65 and older, according to research from AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health.
Delirium is shockingly common, but until recently, poorly recognized by medical professionals. An AARP survey of Americans over 50 found that only 8 percent said that their healthcare provider had spoken to them about strategies to prevent delirium.
The videos offer practical recommendations that families and health care providers can take to reduce the risks of delirium and dementia. Simple steps, like asking casual questions requiring short-term recall, can help assess a patient’s cognitive state. A key point to remember is that caregivers are not visitors, and are an important part of the patient’s care team.
By implementing relatively straightforward and cost-effective measures outlined in the videos, people’s brain health can be protected and billions of healthcare dollars saved.
For additional resources, visit the GEDC website.