Why suspect delirium?

Based on your assessment of Mr Thomas and the information obtained in your discussion with his wife, it seems likely that Mr Thomas’s has pneumonia and concurrent delirium. What are the reasons for suspecting delirium rather than dementia or depression?

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  • Mr Thomas had an acute onset of altered conscious state
  • Mr Thomas has been moody, withdrawn, sleepy and sad for some time
  • Mr Thomas’ altered conscious state occurred over a long period of time
  • Mr Thomas has a disrupted sleep/wake cycle and is very sleepy during the day, but awake at night.
  • Mr Thomas has previously displayed signs of cognitive impairment, such as forgetfulness
  • Mr Thomas’ conscious state and ability to maintain attention fluctuate
  • Mr Thomas shows signs of functional impairment
  • Mr Thomas is not usually moody, withdrawn, sleepy and sad
  • When Mr Thomas is alert, his speech is slow and sometimes incoherent

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