New video to raise awareness of delirium supported by James Nesbitt

New video to raise awareness of delirium supported by James Nesbitt

To mark Delirium Awareness Week (14 to 21 June), the HSC Safety Forum, part of the Public Health Agency (PHA), and Dementia Together NI, with the support of James Nesbitt, have launched an information video for patients and relatives.

Jointly funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Delivering Social Change Fund and The Atlantic Philanthropies, the delirium workstream is one of the programmes being taken forward under the Northern Ireland Executive’s Delivering Social Change Dementia Services Signature Programme.

Dr Gavin Lavery, Clinical Director of the HSC Safety Forum, said: “Delirium is caused by an acute disturbance of brain function which often produces a state of sudden confusion or changes in behaviour and alertness.

“It is very common and frequently occurs in people who become medically unwell, in people over 65, and those with pre-existing memory problems such as dementia. With the correct strategies, it may be prevented or reversed.

“The video hopes to improve outcomes for people with an increased risk of developing delirium by increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms so that families, carers and HSC staff know what to look out for and can respond in a timely manner.”

A person with delirium can experience symptoms including:

  • confusion
  • distractibility
  • rambling speech
  • changes in alertness
  • agitation (sometimes leading to aggression)
  • behavioural changes
  • changes in personality, including paranoia
  • hallucinations

Symptoms can be made worse by constipation, pain, impaired hearing or eyesight, poor nutrition and unfamiliar environment.

Eleanor Ross, Nurse Consultant at PHA and lead for Dementia Together NI, said: “We were delighted that James Nesbitt agreed to do the voiceover for this video. It will be shared with colleagues across the HSC and statutory and voluntary organisations and we hope that it will help in the diagnosis of delirium and thus improve the outcome for patients, their families and carers.”

The video featuring James is available at

Further information

Notes to the Editor

Delivering Social Change is the Northern Ireland Executive’s framework, set up to tackle poverty and social exclusion. It aims to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and to improve children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities thereby breaking the long term cycle of multi- generational problems. For more information go to: