Delirium is a complex syndrome with a multifactorial aetiology and it is characterised by marked disturbances of consciousness, attention, memory, perception, thought, sleep-wake cycle, and by fluctuation of symptoms. This book covers in detail the pathophysiology, epidemiology, clinical aspects, differential diagnosis, and management of the syndrome. Due to the special characteristics of the syndrome, specific chapters deal with different aetiologies and populations at risk, with emphasis on the critically ill and palliative care patients. As delirium often announces or anticipates the proximity of death, family issues are considered in a comprehensive final chapter, covering the impact of terminal illness on the family and the process of bereavement. The book emphasises the need for assessing and diagnosing delirium with reliable instruments, and a chapter on assessment is reinforced by including appendices of many of the most relevant instruments reported in recent literature. The evidence from literature data is always distinguished from the authors' opinion and most chapters are integrated by the presentation of case examples.
This book demonstrates that only an interdisciplinary treatment of delirium between neurology, psychiatry and palliative medicine can develop knowledge of the syndrome and improve patient and family care. This book has been written for palliative care physicians and specialist nurses, neurologists, psychiatrists, and other health professionals treating terminally ill patients, offering them a clear account of how to recognise and deal with the syndrome.
Table of Contents
1. Delirium: historical concepts and current definitions; 2. Pathophysiology; 3. Epidemiology; 4. Clinical phenomenology; 5. Differential diagnosis; 6. Frequent aetiologies; 7. Frequent clinical subtypes - delirium in special populations; 8. Diagnostic assessment; 9. Management; 10. Family issues; Appendices