Coping with Mental Confusion (Delirium) in Childhood Cancer
Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
Delirium is a cognitive impairment disorder (it affects how a person thinks, remembers, and reasons). The main signs of delirium to watch out for are sudden changes in consciousness or state of arousal, such as feeling drowsy or agitated.
A child with delirium may experience confusion, disorientation, an inability to focus, memory problems, or changes in perception; these can include hallucinations or experiencing events that aren’t really happening.
Delirium is the most common sign of medical complications of cancer or cancer treatment affecting the brain and mind. It is a common problem for individuals with advanced cancer or those at the end of life. Because of its troubling symptoms, delirium is often very stressful for the child with cancer and their family members.
Delirium complicates the ability of healthcare staff to assess and manage your child’s other symptoms. It can also interfere with your child’s ability to receive cancer treatments.
Types of delirium
There are three types of delirium:
- Hypoactive – the person acts sleepy or withdrawn
- Hyperactive – the person is agitated
- Mixed – the person alternates between these two types
More than two thirds of patients with delirium have the hypoactive or mixed type. A person may experience hallucinations and delusions with any of the types.
Delirium often has more than one cause, especially for those who are frail or severely ill. Medications are one of the main causes, but many other conditions can lead to delirium.
Discovering the cause of your child’s delirium is important in order for the doctor to choose the best treatment.
Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Delirium on our static page, Mental Confusion (Delirium) in Childhood Cancer
Posted on 24 June, 2016, in Blog and tagged cancer, Child Cancer Awareness, childhood cancer, Children with Cancer, Delirium, Fighting Cancer, Little Fighters Cancer Trust, side effects. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.