Delirium is frequently misdiagnosed as depression or dementia. Delirium is a clinical diagnosis, based on history and observation of the patient at the bedside. If delirium is suspected, the first intervention should be a thorough assessment of the patient.
It is important to recognise delirium because it can be difficult for patients to reliably report their symptoms, even to those who know them well. The most effective treatment for delirium is early diagnosis and identification of the underlying cause/s. If the patient is an indigenous person, it might also be appropriate to request the assistance of the Aboriginal Health Worker (AHW), if available.