University of Exeter leads new research project in treatment of delirium
A research programme led by the University of Exeter will investigate ways to help hospital patients recover from delirium.
Delirium is a state of acute confusion, often involving hallucinations, that afflicts a quarter of older people admitted to hospital.
The £2.5 million programme is funded by the National Institute of Health Research. Besides the University of Exeter it will be run by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and PenARC, a partnership including NHS trusts, local authorities, universities and charities.
“Our trial is the largest ever to find a way to support recovery and help ensure an encounter with delirium doesn’t lead to a worsening of symptoms long-term”
Working with patients and experts at six NHS sites across the UK, they will test treatments such as physical exercise, puzzles and games, and emotional support measures.
Professor Louise Allan, who is leading the study, said, “Delirium is extremely common and leaves people incredibly vulnerable, yet so far there’s surprisingly little research to aid recovery. Our trial is the largest ever to find a way to support recovery and help ensure an encounter with delirium doesn’t lead to a worsening of symptoms long-term.”
Delirium is especially common among dementia sufferers. A study published in the medical journal The Lancet in May 2020 suggested that the condition is also prevalent among those with severe Covid-19.
Editor: Orla Mackinnon