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Delirium is a serious medical condition where people experience sudden changes in their thinking, attention and memory, causing them to become confused, agitated or drowsy.

Usually lasting from a few days to weeks, it can lead to serious complications such as falls, pressure injuries, longer hospital admissions and sometimes death.

We know the best treatment for delirium is prevention – around 30-40 per cent of delirium cases that occur in hospital are preventable. However, delirium is not well detected by health professionals and is often misdiagnosed for dementia or depression.

A collaborative approach

In partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Safer Care Victoria are leading a breakthrough collaborative focusing on delirium. The collaborative uses the IHI’s proven model for improvement and runs from February–November 2019.

Who's involved?

Albury Wodonga Health

Alfred Health

Ballarat Health Services

Barwon Health

Bendigo Health

Central Gippsland Health

Colac Area Health

Corryong Health

Eastern Health

Goulburn Valley Health

Latrobe Regional Hospital

Melbourne Health

Mercy Health

Monash Health

Northern Health

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Portland District Health

South West Healthcare

St Vincent’s Hospital

West Gippsland Health

Western Health


Improved care for older patients in hospital, through better diagnosis, prevention and treatment of delirium.


Focusing on a specific inpatient ward, health services will:

  • reduce length of stay for patients at risk of delirium by 0.5 days
  • reduce falls by 20 per cent in hospitalised patients.

Resources for health services

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards

The NSQHS Comprehensive Care Standard outlines the requirements for your health service AMS program to review how you screen and assess patients and ensure care plans reflect their physical, mental and cognitive healthcare needs.

Organisations will be assessed against the new standards from January 2019.

Identifying delirium

Use these tools to improve how you recognise  and diagnose delirium.

Preventing and managing delirium

Read just some of the ways we can help older people and their families and carers understand, prevent and manage delirium. 

Get in touch

Older people clinical network
Safer Care Victoria
+61 3 9096 9846


Please note: these contact details are for project information only. For consumer advice, please see Information for consumers: Mind and mood in hospital

Page last updated: 15 Sep 2020

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