Delirium or Dementia?

Lori Amdam, Vancouver Island Hospital AuthorityOur February 2013 speaker, Lori Amdam from Vancouver Island Health Authority, had attendees’ rapt attention as she described the differences between delirium and dementia.

In her comparison of the two “Ds”, she illustrated how distinctly different the two are by highlighting the key difference:  time.  Delirium is a sudden change in cognition, function and behaviour, while dementia is a very slow deterioration.

No stranger to her topic, entitled: Dodging the 3 Ds, Part One -Understanding Delirium, Lori is passionate about improving the quality of life for seniors in care. She has been an advanced practice nurse, educator, administrator and consultant in the field of older adult nursing for the past 38 years.  She received her registered nursing diploma from St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In addition, she holds a diploma in Health Care Management from B.C.I.T., a master’s degree in nursing from the University of British Columbia and a certificate in Parish Nursing from Nebraska Methodist College.  For the past eight years, she has worked as a clinical nurse educator in older adult Mental Health and Addictions on Vancouver Island.

Through her wealth of experience with older adults she gave members clear illustrations of the state of delirium. She also offered sage advice as to how to identify a friend or family member who might be in such a state and what should be done immediately to prevent lasting damage.

Her key message?  You don’t recover from delirium until you fix the cause.

Lori provided our chapter with a copy of the following DVD:  Delirium in the older person. Family Guide. (Vancouver Island Health Authority, 2007).   Contact ** to borrow it.

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