How to Communicate with a Confused Patient


Temporary confusion may occur if a patient has a high temperature or is suffering from mental illness; in the latter case the confusion may arise as a result of the illness itself or of the treatment given. Most confused patients, however, belong to the older age groups. A confused patient may not know where he is, what day of the week it is or what he wants. He may wander about in a dazed way and do potentially dangerous things. Always make sure the doctor knows if a patient is confused as all types of patient may benefit from some medical treatment.

Confusion associated with infection

When the patient has an infection, confu­sion may arise from the toxic state and from the dehydration caused by the raised tem­perature. This will generally be only tempor­ary: replacement of fluid and reduction of temperature bring speedy improvement.

Confusion in the elderly

The elderly often become confused when they are moved to different surroundings -to hospital, for instance, to a nursing home or to a relative’s home. Not uncommonly in

these circumstances they cling to a particular nurse or volunteer, insisting that she is their daughter, niece or long-lost friend. Something in the appearance or manner of the individual probably triggers off a memory and the association is made. The confusion is often lessened if the number of people involved in the patient’s general care is reduced; adding vitamin B to the diet and improving the patient’s general health may also be beneficial.

If the patient’s sight or hearing are impaired the problem is increased. Much patience is needed among those caring for this group and repeated explanations of the simplest things may be needed.

Confusion in the mentally ill

Confusion from mental illness may arise as a result of the illness itself or of the treatment given. If you want to communicate with the mentally ill, it is not just a matter of estab­lishing contact with the patient, but also the difficulty of overcoming barriers within yourself. People are often over-anxious and even frightened of mental illness, and do not know how or where to begin to help the patient with his difficulties.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care

Tags:

About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.