£2.5 million to improve treatment of delirium in hospitals
Researchers from Newcastle University will be part of a new £2.5 million research programme in delirium.
Led by University of Exeter, the programme will find new ways to help people recover from delirium after hospital stays, which could stop dementia symptoms getting worse.
The challenge of delirium for healthcare and individuals
A quarter of older people admitted to hospital experience delirium, which is a feeling of confusion often brought on by a medical condition such as an infection. It is particularly common in people with dementia and is highly distressing. Recovering from delirium can be slow, which means long periods of inactivity. Some people never recover, and dementia symptoms can get worse as a result of delirium. Despite its prevalence, there is very little research into how to improve people’s recovery from delirium.
New funding from the National Institute for Health Research will facilitate a programme of research to develop and then test an intervention to aid recovery. The study, entitled ‘Development and testing of an intervention to improve Recovery after an Episode of Delirium’ (RecoverED), is led by Professor Louise Allan of the University of Exeter. It will test out measures including physical exercise, engaging with brain-stimulating activities such as puzzles and games, and emotional support. The multidisciplinary programme will involve experts and patients from six NHS sites across the country, including Newcastle upon Tyne.
Dr Sarah Richardson, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University, is a collaborator on the study and will lead the programme in Newcastle upon Tyne. She says:
Despite delirium being incredibly common and associated with poor outcomes including dementia, there is surprisingly little research on how to help people recover after delirium. We are very proud to be working with Exeter to carry out this study, that will bring us closer to understanding how to minimise the long-term effects of delirium in those admitted to hospital.
The programme will be led by the University of Exeter, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, and PenARC (NIHR ARC South West Peninsula). Along with universities and health trusts in Newcastle upon Tyne and Exeter, the programme will be tested in Birmingham, Nottingham, Edinburgh and London, before it is rolled out further. The study is also supported by Winchester University and dementia charity Innovations in Dementia and the trial will be centrally co-ordinated by the Exeter Clinical Trials Unit.
Story adapted, with thanks from the University of Exeter press release