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Recognizing Dementia, Delirium and Depression in Older Adults

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Dementia, depression, and delirium are among the most common psychiatric disorders seen with older adults and speak to the complexity of geriatrics. The overlap of symptoms prevalent in this triad is abundant. The ability to differentiate the subtle differences is vital to optimum outcomes to older adults. Understanding the differences and putting the proper interventions into place helps to ensure the best outcomes. Adding to the complexity of dementia, depression, and delirium is the very real possibility of having a combination of these issues, even all three concurrently. Mortality and morbidity rates increase with delirium with mortality rates from 22-76 percent in hospitalized patients and rates as high as 40 percent one year after diagnosis of delirium (Inouye, 2006). The possible cascade of negative outcomes, which can result from any combination of this trio, can cumulate into a significant alteration in the quality of life of an older adult.

This teaching strategy is designed to help students understand dementia, depression, and delirium. By better understanding this triad and developing a clearer understanding of the similarities and differences, the student will be better able to intervene to ensure the best outcomes. This strategy utilizes active learning to help students understand the content and to apply it to clinical practice.

Recognizing Dementia, Delirium and Depression in Older Adults

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