Delirium in the Intensive Care Unit: what you need to know


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34 comments

  1. Valerie K Morey

    I would like to know if it happens 50% of the time to Patients Then why the hell aren’t the Families at least pre-warned about it?? This is so messed up for people !! Secrets are not usually the best way to deal with any situation let a lone when someone you love is fighting for their life!! I feel it is a very bad display of bed side manners and this is just UN-Except-able.

    • Vallen

      Yes I agree relations of the patients haven’t aclue what is going on with their loved one in Icu.

    • Niki mckenzie

      I couldn’t agree more with you, especially when you have nurses telling you all sorts of things aswell,….but ABSOLUTELY why on earth aren’t we prepared for this ???!!!???….as you say….inexcusable, & very frightening for family all round .

      • Margaret kaighin

        They put him on o medicine to reverse the effects
        Can this cause the psychosis to get worse?

    • Helaine Blum

      I had the same frightening experience with my partner, who did not come completely out of the psychosis until two weeks after release. Nobody warned us it might happen, or prepared us with any type of medication. The patient and family suffer needlessly, because of lack of information and aftercare. A real travesty and quite negligent of the medical system.

  2. Todd charske

    Only a week after getting out isn’t bad. How long can it longer?

    Todd Charske!

  3. Anna

    How long does it last when patients have delirium?

    • Jamie Powell

      I had it 2 for 2 weeks after spending 2 months in a coma with sepsis. Its a gradural thing.

  4. Mary gonzales

    My sister is in ICU and she is experiencing this it’s hard to understand what’s going on with her some days she is normal and than she goes back with not knowing
    Thanks for this information
    Mary G

  5. Linda Robarge

    My mother is in ICU for pneumonia, plus she has kidney failure which she receives dialysis.From one day to the next she totally lost all touch with reality.She became mean and swearing, she tried to rip an IV out of her arm.She thought all of her family were in on a conspiracy to kill her because we want her money.She was saying she hated us, we make her sick, that we hate her.It was awful.Will she come back from all this once the infection is gone, they said it is clearing up but I see no improvement.She won’t eat or drink because she thinks there is poison in in.Even the staff there she thinks is out to kill her.

    • Christie Cabal

      My son was on ventilator for ten days and when he got the tube out the next day he started saying I was trying to kill him and I paid everyone in hospital to kill him. The next day was even worse cuz he thought I had a sniper outside trying to shoot him and I was only there to finish the job myself since they didn’t do it yet. I finally had to leave because he was getting so upset. I have stayed away for two days now and I’m sure hoping that he will be different tomorrow. It’s been so hard.

    • Leeann

      Be patient I’m sure it’s hard to hear and see your family member like this. Just love her talk to her tell her what is real and not real. I’ve been here !!

    • Jennifer

      Hi just reading your comments. Did it get better for your mom?
      Thank you

  6. Deborah Gaton

    My sister just went through this very thing. Her children and my other sister and myself were terrified. I agree that family should be warned that this is a possibilty before it happens and not the day after when it was mentioned to us.

  7. Cortney Fiddler

    Im currently going through this with my Grandmother. We should have been warned if it was so common. Our hearts are broken and don’t wish this on anyone!

  8. Maddi

    I am very concerned that none of the articles have sources cited.

  9. ERS

    I can absolutely relate to the anger expressed by commenters here because I feel it too — and I was an ICU patient. Not only did my hospital fail to tell my family what to expect as a result of my intubation and delirium — to say nothing of my near-fatal medical conditions and heavy drug treatment — but they didn’t provide any information about the possible after-effects of being in the ICU. And that’s both bad medicine and incredibly cruel. Look up “Post ICU Syndrome.” It’s well known within the medical community that being in the ICU is only the start of what can be many, many months of difficult recovery. It’s recovery that can have serious mental and emotional aspects. My hospital and doctors discharged me without telling me anything about this. And as I learned later, this wasn’t an oversight. It was intentional and I suffered. I’m very distrustful of the medical establishment now.

    • Lee-Ann

      You sound like me I think of what happened to me in icu every day it’s been over a year I’ve had to turn to the internet to find out what happened time in there . The nurses were so mean to me. I had a double lung transplant. After the tube went in and out a few times it scratched my throat I couldn’t talk well the Drs said you know you can talk now and walk away. I started writing stuff down nurses were doing or not doing to me. They were so angry treating me even worse. I had no way to communicate unless someone took the time to listen to me. Closely I asked for the chaplain. I was sure they would listen but I looked over and the nurses were chatting with the chaplain. She turned and walked away. They didn’t want me in icu so put me on the ward I wasn’t well with severe diarrhea and had tocall a nurse for help constantly. Eventually i buzzed the nurses she knew I was going down I heard her calling for help then nothing. She came running back with the guy with the cart I guess I dropped went into respiratory failure. They got me breathing again and my nurse had to beg icu to take me back they then put me out for three days. Omg soma you scary experiences the list goes on but I was so helpless. My worst fear is me not being allowed to have another transplant because of how I was in icu. Ione of the cordinators told me after transplant toget my mental health checked like this was my fault and there was something wrong with me. I’m still sitting on it all im afraid whoto talk to about all this. They turned away my three children and I had no one there for me exactly what they wanted I couldn’t see very well due to the drugs to reach out to get help from someone. It’s horrible I never want to go through that again!!! But I’ll stop here . I see a psychologist soon it’s risky talking to him because he works for transplant. Any advice would be great !!

  10. Gail Thornton

    I have A brother who has been in the hospital a month. He had neck surgery but never recouped.He was diagnosed with I.C.U. Delerium. He shows all the signs of it but doesn’t show many signs of getting better is there anything my family can do that will help give him some comfort. Most of the time he is terrified and out of his head. I see no signs of him getting better. He can’t even eat on his own.

  11. Kelebogile Moagi

    I don’t know how to feel after reading all the comments. My mother just got out of ICU on Friday,and now she is home with me. She is still going on about how people are after her and her family, how they are talking about her and planning her demise. I’m at wits end and have no idea what to do. The doctors didn’t warn me, and when i enquired about it when i went to fetch her yesterday they just said it happens, just like that,no tips on how to deal with it or how to handle the situation. I’m losing my mind here. I don’t know whether to tell her that it was all her imagination, or just let it slide and hope she will forget or come to her senses. It breaks my heart seeing her like this

  12. Jessica

    I was delirious in the past for a few months and then came out of it. I can remember a few things I seen like a baby falling off a file cabinet but never actually fell and things on the walls. Anyway a few months ago a Dr. said that I was partially delirious again but how could that be if I know what was going on for the most part? I was confused but remember a lot. Thanks for your time Jessica

  13. Tracy Dugdale Cohen

    My husband was admitted for dangerously low oxygen, flu , pneumonia & lung infection. Was sedated for 3 weeks & now still in hospital as he’s still very confused & doesn’t make sense most of the time, he was given antibiotics for a viral infection they suspected in his brain & it seems to have worked to a degree . We are still waiting for lumber puncture results & I’m so scared he’s not going to come out of it!

    • Tarsh

      How is he now? My mother in last currently in that state. Sleeping but not arousAnle for 2 full days now. All the other things above mentioned are the same .

  14. Deborah Drummond

    Good article. My husband just got home from rehab after being in ICU a total of 3 weeks, moved several times to rehab or back to hospital.For 2 months, he was in the hospital or rehab. He become more confused with each move. What I saw was that medical staff did not note this as a major concern and what the end outcome might be. So he is still confused 2 months later. We currently have home health, therapies. He is very slowly getting better but it will be a long process. Not sure of what the outcome will be.

    • Cindy

      Hi Deborah… did your husband ever come out of it?

  15. Anand

    My father is in CCU and he is going through the same and thankfully the Nurses and Doctors informed me about this . I was bit worried. After reading the article I am much aware about it now.
    Thanks.

  16. Leah

    As a friend of a friend who’s mother was experiencing this, I too, think she should have been prepared for this potentiality as my friend was very distraught and calling me for support which I was incapable of providing not knowing about this either! Two people, she and I, were desperately trying to think about the endless possibilities of what could happen as her mother seemed to be losing it and that was so unnecessary because my friend could have been prepared in the first place! My friend was extremely worried and afraid and I had no answers, and only fears myself! This experience was so unnecessary!

  17. Mavis Gilbride

    My Husband was sedated and never came round,I should never have given consent.We never got to say goodbye after 60 yrs together.I will regret it for the rest of my life.I was told it was just to calm him down,not to finish his life.and i truly believe thats what they did.Dont do the same as i did ,think very carefully before you agree to anything you are told

  18. Chanda R Schonberger

    Yeah would be Great to be with my Husband right now he is at UAB and had paratesis 3 times ..he said he feels sick not feeling good .and i cant be there because of this covid19 scare …but he doesnt have it and i dont have it so tell me again why i cant see my husband ?

  19. Jackie

    I would like to know how you would recommend helping our family members during this COVID-19 mess?? My husband is in the ICU and has been there since June 1st, he had fallen off a ladder at work. Because of the whole COVID-19 situation they are not allowing any visitors at all and they have 1 I Pad for the whole ICU unit for families to face time with their loved ones. My husband is in and out of sedation, some days he seems to recognize me, other days it doesn’t seem that way. He asked me why he was in the hospital and did not remember what had happened. So, if you would be so kind please give me some ideas on how to help him during this time of not being able to be there physically with him and only thru face time. Thank you!

  20. MARGUERITE O'HARA

    thank you for this – it helps as my husband is suffering now after a huge heart attack.

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