"Delirium is severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function, usually caused by a treatable physical or mental illness. Delirium is often misdiagnosed. Delirium may be caused by infection; a stroke; dehydration; reaction to surgery; anesthesia or medication; disease (like liver failure); uncorrected vision or hearing problems; improper restraint usage; or depression. Symptoms may develop over a short period of time, and change during the day."
Why is this important?: "Delirium is not a normal part of aging. It should not be confused with dementia . Delirium is a serious condition requiring urgent medical attention. Left untreated, the death rate is high. Finding and treating the cause of delirium can ensure proper treatment of a physical or mental problem, and help restore the residents health and quality of life."
Taken from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services: Nursing Home Information for Consumers