• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can be found in our area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Confusion from infection...how long will it last?

DollyO

Registered User
Aug 25, 2014
29
Hi

I am worried about my Mum who is currently in a community hospital to try and get back on her feet. She hasn't been eating or drinking at home and since my Dad got taken seriously ill 7 weeks ago has drastically deteriorated.

She had mild - moderate cognitive impairment and is due to go for a brain scan in two weeks to find out more.

When she went into the hospital 10 days ago, she had the start of a chest infection and was a bit muddled but still essentially her self. I noticed a week ago a sharp decline in her mental state and was shocked. I have been told it is likely to be the infection (she also had a UTI but I have since been told this has cleared). She has been taking antibiotics for over a week. How long do these infections take to clear? I am worried she could permanently be like this? She is now confused, paranoid, agitated and saying lots of things which do not make any sense. She is talking lots about wanting to see her parents who are dead. It is all rather distressing for me, especially as my Dad recently lost his mental capacity due to an aggressive brain tumour.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

Eleanor
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,966
Kent
Hello DollyO

I`m sorry to hear your mum`s infection has had such a marked effect on her confusion. I`m afraid it often happens.

I don`t think anyone will be able to tell you whether or not she will regain what she has lost once the infection clears , because everyone is so different. I know it doesn`t help to be told `wait and see` but I`m afraid thats how it is.

You have a lot on your plate with so much worry about both parents. I hope you have supportive friends and family round you. It is too much to bear alone.
 

Oxy

Registered User
Jul 19, 2014
955
Wishing your mum a good recovery from her infection with cognitive facilities going to pre infection period.
 

greenpea

Registered User
Aug 12, 2014
57
My dad has Alzheimers and does get quite muddled at times. About 3 weeks ago, his GP had him admitted to hospital with a kidney infection and UTI. He wasn't eating or drinking at all and was becoming much more muddled. Now he is about to be discharged as he is back to what is his normal now. They told us the extra confusion was caused by the infection. I hope your mum will be back to her 'normal' very soon.
 

DollyO

Registered User
Aug 25, 2014
29
Thank you to those who responded. I do really hope the damage is not permanent but I accept that this could be the case.

Thank you for your support. I have had a horrendous 2 months and my life continues to be very sad and stressful. I have a wonderful partner and friends, sadly few family members to rely on.
 

DollyO

Registered User
Aug 25, 2014
29
Update: Mum seems to be worse

Just wanted to follow this up.

5 days since I last posted and my Mum seems worse than ever :(

She is still in the community hospital. Her behaviour seems to have shifted from confusion to what I would probably call delusional now. She is living in a completely made up world where she describes things to me that haven't happened - e.g. the other day she was telling me that she had been arrested at a castle, yesterday she kept talking about a court case she's involved in. All not true. I was shocked to see her being rude to the staff members at the hospital, not like her. She seems convinced that they don't like her and are treating her very badly. She described having a blazing row with a Thai woman that morning. Again, of course, this did not happen. No matter how hard i tried, I could't get her to talk any sense. I just reluctantly went along with it. All very shocking.

I can't believe this is still the effect of the infections she was diagnosed with 2 weeks ago (chest and UTI). She is still on antibiotics but i was told days ago she no longer has a urine infection. What I fear is that this dramatic step down in her decline has perhaps been caused by vascular dementia? The more I read about the symptoms (balance issues, inability to walk, incontinence, hallucinations, change of personality) I am beginning to wonder if this is what it is?

Does anyone have a similar experience of someone declining so dramatically in a very short period of time (couple of days). Luckily she has a brain scan in 2 weeks.

Thanks in advance
 
Last edited:

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,035
71
Durham
Yes my husband was just the same when he was in hospital he had a UTI which lead to kidney failure he was incontinent, confused, hallucinating, he was aggressive and restless, I think it is the hospital does this to people with dementia as well as the infections, he slowly recovered when he went into a CH to recuperate and he has been home a few month now and is back to where he was before he went in, I didn't believe he would ever recover but he has,
 

DollyO

Registered User
Aug 25, 2014
29
Yes my husband was just the same when he was in hospital he had a UTI which lead to kidney failure he was incontinent, confused, hallucinating, he was aggressive and restless, I think it is the hospital does this to people with dementia as well as the infections, he slowly recovered when he went into a CH to recuperate and he has been home a few month now and is back to where he was before he went in, I didn't believe he would ever recover but he has,
Oh that is good to know, thanks Jeany
 

AlsoConfused

Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
1,953
It's sometimes frightening how much even the most minor infections can knock back people with dementia.

My Mum developed a slight cold over the last couple of days - in our phone calls she now sounds totally unlike herself, barely able to speak and "off the planet" totally. I hope and believe from past experience she'll be "back" with us soon.
 

Oxy

Registered User
Jul 19, 2014
955
My experience was that once infection cleared c went back to normal. However chest infection needing hospitalisation takes much out of them and hence it is a while before they feel fully recovered. Antibiotics don't make them feel well either. If I remember correctly, with clarythromycin the diarrhoea can come back after 6 weeks. iV version is nasty stuff. C is an avid eater and didn't want anything. however I tasted the hospital food once and it was positively disgusting. They often use a number of antibiotics and that mask (can't remember it's name) where another drug goes in and steam passes over it I think and they inhale it.
C was so out of sorts and afterwards very much like before. A small decline sometimes occurs and more if they have TIAs as that activity causes reduced blood flow to brain. Is her INR OK as the blood thickens when they lye static I think as that is when DVTs occur.
Hope it is just her being unwell and that when those strong drugs and the infection are cleared from her body you will wonder why you worried so much. I know it is such a shock when they act so differently so suddenly when Ill.
 

DollyO

Registered User
Aug 25, 2014
29
These posts are reassuring me, so thank you. I realise though that it could be permanent but fingers crossed she will go back a bit to how she was before.
 

andre1

New member
Aug 6, 2020
1
Hi
I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through, it seems like I am going through an almost identical situation, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months ago, and two weeks ago my mum was admitted into hospital with kidney failure, she was in icu for a few days, and has since been moved to a ward, however the confusion and hallucinations are heartbreaking, due to the covid situation, we are unable to visit her which is making everything 10x harder, my mum phones me numerous times a day with the most outrageous storys, she is 81 and up until this she was sharp mentally, never a sign of any confusion, its extremely worrying, and I feel so sad that I go along with the storys she is telling me so not to agitate her, she is now convinced that the hospital are taking my father to court because he pushed a nurse because she asked him to leave, which never happened, my father has not been allowed to visit, I am so worried how long this could last, I know exactly how you are feeling...I hope your mum gets well soon x
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,861
Hi @andre1, sorry to hear about your mother. Hopefully when all the infections have cleared and it might take a while, your mother will get back if not to her original level at least close to it. Have the hospital suggested a visit from the memory clinic or similar. Infections can cause havoc with older people's mental state so it might not be dementia as such. Is your father still able to manage at home, and would he be able to help your mum when she comes out of hospital.
This is a very old thread btw, so you may get more replies if you start your own thread in Memory Concerns and Seeking a Diagnosis. In the meantime welcome to Dementia Talking Point. It's a friendly and supportive group and I'm sure someone with more practical advice will be along shortly.
 

PMM1485

Registered User
Dec 16, 2018
40
I am in exactly the same situation. We got mum into a fabulous care home and while she was not exactly happy, she was prepared to try and enjoy her new life. It offered gardening, art, walks along the sea front. On the Monday she walked in knowing where she was and four days later was raving, convinced they were accusing her of running a brothel, throwing things af staff, trying to breast feed an imaginary baby, running around all night (She could barely walk before) and being abusive to staff. Mum was so new at the home I had to convince them this wasn't normal for her . She changed dramatically in the space of days, so it really does happen that quickly.
She had a bad UTI previous which started us down the care home path. She recovered from that but it took about 4 weeks. This time I am not so sure that the change isn't permanent. She has been on so many antibotics that I fear they may have done damage in themselves. I am not giving up hope though that some semblance of her old self will come back though.
It is the speed of the change that is so hard to deal with. I really understand your worry and sadness. You just have to try and stay positive. It can go either way. I hear of so may people who do improve, and mum has done so before. It just takes a very long time. Try and stay positive and don't let people for you off with 'it's just the dementia'. X