Adequate treatment of delirium is of great importance for the patient and their family. In the case of a reversible delirium, there appears to be amnesia for the event with some of the patients. However, in many cases (also with quiet deliriums), the occurrence of a delirium leads to lasting memories that are very unpleasant for the patient. It is also very unpleasant for patients who have no recollection of the event, to know that they may have acted very odd. A delirium can also be a very traumatic experience for the patient's family. It is therefore decided in most cases to treat the cause of the delirium, either non-pharmacologically or with medication if required. However, treatment may be foregone in some cases. This applies especially in the dying phase. Many dying patients meet the DSM-IV-TR criteria for a delirium, but only a (small) proportion of these need treatment, for example for motor restlessness or anxiety.
It is further of importance to judge and discuss (where possible with the patient and otherwise with his/her legal guardian) in a timely manner what possible protective measures need to be taken to avoid harm. A patient is generally at an increased risk of falling incidents and increased chance of damage to intravenous infusion lines and/or catheters and tubes etc. The medical and nursing care professionals need to be aware of the regulatory frameworks within which protective measures may be applied. For this purpose, institutions should have developed protocols that ensure alignment and outline task division, and include the evaluation of interventions performed.