UCSF has implemented a multi-disciplinary approach to delirium prevention and management.

I brought in pictures of family and vacations that she'd been on. It was calming to her. But when I showed her a picture of her beloved dog, you could visably see a change, like the delirium lessened.

Patient family member

Everyone on the care team is actively involved in carrying out a delirium care plan that emphasizes quality nighttime sleep, mobility and keeping patients awake and alert during the day.We encourage family members to participate. 

Here’s how you can help!




Ensure your loved one is wearing his or her glasses and hearing aids during the day. When they can't hear or see well, they can easily become confused and disoriented.  

Help your loved one stay alert and active during the day. Family members can help them read, play games, put together puzzles, discuss current events, or share news about friends and family to keep them oriented.  

Bring familiar items from home. Pictures of family, pets, memorable vacations or a cozy blanket can help keep your loved one connected and make the hospital room more comforting.

Help your loved one stay awake during the day. Maintaining a good sleep pattern–awake during the day, asleep at night–is important for healing. Nighttime sleep improves immune function, enables memory processing, and allows the brain to recharge–all important in preventing and recovering from delirium. Daytime napping should be minimized. 

Ensure water is within easy reach. If your family member is not on a special dietary order restricting liquids, they should stay well hydrated. 

Tell the nurse or the doctor about any behavior changes in your loved one. Excessive sleeping, confusion, disorientation and memory loss can be a sign of delirium. 

Don't hesitate to ask questions! The better informed you are about what is happening, the better you can help your loved one.