Delirium: A Practical Approach to Diagnosis and Management in Palliative Patients


Back to Basics Clinical Needs



Megan Sellick, MD, CCFP (PC) Palliative Care Physician; Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre



Delirium is one of the most common complications of advanced cancer and is often misdiagnosed. It can have a devastating effect on patients, family and health care providers. Optimal symptom assessment and management are greatly complicated by the presence of delirium. This practical and interactive workshop will use a case based approach to the diagnosis and management of delirium. Palliative sedation will also be defined and discussed.



1. Outline a pragmatic approach for the diagnosis of delirium at the bedside

2. Describe a framework for managing delirium including identifying underlying causes and initiating pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments

3. Define palliative sedation and describe the indications, medications, monitoring and ethical considerations in its use


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