Dementia After Delerium

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Sm1ff, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. Sm1ff

    Sm1ff Registered User

    Nov 23, 2015
    I am new to the site - but I wondered if anyone else had had a similar experience to me and so had any advice? My Mum fell and broke her hip 2 months ago and then suffered severe delerium. She has now been diagnosed with vascular dementia, but we seemed to have skipped the early stages and moved right to a very full on form. She recognises my brothers and I but not my children, is extremely agitated and aggressive, screams all day and most of the night, talks incessantly but makes more or less no sense and is unable to do anything for herself except feed badly and often refuses to drink.

    This is such a shock... she had a few very early signs after having a few TIAs a year ago, but only difficulty word finding. The woman I visit in hospital now bears more or less no resemblance to my Mum, awful.

    She did have a phobia of hospitals and maybe this has exaggerated her reaction?

    Does anyone have any advice for how we can help calm her down? Visiting (which we do daily) is a truely upsetting and harrowing occasion at the moment.

    Many thanks for reading
  2. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    I am really sorry to read about your Mum. I can well imagine that visits are awful for everyone. I have no direct experience with what you describe, but hopefully someone else on the forum will be able to help. I do know however that there is some evidence that general anesthetic increases or accelerates dementia symptoms and also that other conditions such as dehydration and infections can cause confusion in elderly patients. Delirium is normally reversible and the person comes back to normal over time. If you haven't done so I would be sitting down with the hospital consultant and asking for answers and explanations as it does seem a dramatic change.
  3. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    A few years back my mother also fell and broke her hip, she went into hospital and having said they would give her a general they gave her a local, she was terrified and very similar to how you describe your Mother. I know how you feel it was terrifying for everyone. However, Mum recovered from the delirium although as you say the minimal signs of memory loss became worse - she had vascular problems and memory loss was typical of that.

    I have to say that I was at the hospital all day every day for 3 weeks basically taking over her care. I made sure she ate and drank and insisted that they checked for UTIs regularly - they check once and think it is a done deal!! I agree that dehydration is a big factor in delirium.

    It is worth seeing if you can get someone there at mealtimes for her and keep insisting the care staff make sure she is drinking.

    I insisted that they took out the catheter within days and then I walked her to and from the toilet even though it took a very, very long time at first!!

    I know that most people can't possibly do this but if you can double check the urinary infection and try to get hydration on track and see if that makes a difference. If it is fear then this is more difficult and I agree with Emac that you need to sit down and write down how your Mum was before the operation. Sometimes hospitals say 'we didn't know what she was like before'. A good session with the consultant and the matron would be helpful for you at least and give you the opportunity to discuss in detail.

    Keep posting
    Thinking of you
  4. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    North West
    This does sound unusual, to say the least. I can only imagine what a shock it must be for you and your family.

    Dementia diagnosis is far from an exact science, as you probably know. It would be interesting to know who made the diagnosis and on what evidence.

    As to the best way of trying to calm her down - this is always difficult with dementias, as you probably know. It's important, I think, to try to keep as calm as possible yourself and if at any time you feel your actual presence is increasing the agitation it might be best to step outside for a while.

    Is she in pain? Is she on medication that might be exacerbating the problems?
  5. betsie

    betsie Registered User

    Jun 11, 2012
    Not sure if this is relevant, but I remember reading a post about B vitamins being significantly depleted if a person has a general anaesthetic and how this can cause significant confusion in the elderly. If she had a general with her hip might be worth doing a search for the post and getting doctors to check.
  6. Sm1ff

    Sm1ff Registered User

    Nov 23, 2015
    Thank you so much for the advice and kind words I really appreciate it. Mum was diagnosed after a brain scan a few weeks ago. They have told us today that she is being referred to mental health. I suspect they don't really know what is going on either to be honest.

    I will keep pushing the fluids and see if I can encourage b vitamin foods. The aggressive behaviour and screaming are what I find so hard to deal with, I will keep trying to calm her down.

    Thanks again, great to hear from kindred spirits.
  7. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Might it be worth considering asking the hospital to check for Vit B deficiency - it is a simple test and it might help. just a thought as i think vit B in foods is quite hard and some of the Bs do better when given as tablets
  8. Sm1ff

    Sm1ff Registered User

    Nov 23, 2015
    Ah right, thank you I will ask them tomorrow
  9. User

    User Registered User

    Mar 23, 2015
    That is interesting. The specialist in old age & geriatric care that sam me ol' mum suggested it wouldn't hurt to take "Berocca", which is available at a reasonable price from Boots. It contains B vitamins and stuff, is not prescription, and there are "lookalikes".
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    It is really hard, I can imagine how distressing this is for you. like my mum even though she has vascular dementia the other behaviour coming on so suddenly sounds as though it may have been triggered by something else - it sounds as though she is fearful of something and can't get through it. Although it is difficult i can only suggest that you keep visiting frequently, keep reassuring, keep up the hydration and talking to her about how she is only in hospital for a short time and will soon be better. Please keep posting xxx

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