For some of your residents confusion is normal all the time and for others they do not appear confused at all.

Sometimes when older people are poorly with something else confusion can either get worse or suddenly appear.

If this happens you should tell a senior member of staff and seek medical advice.

Day by day

Is the confusion new or does it seem worse than normal?

If there is a medical emergency, ring 999.

If it is not a medical emergency,

Make a note of other changes such as:-

  • Are they eating and drinking?

  • Do they have a temperature?

  • Do they have a cough or a cold?

  • Are they constipated?

  • Are they in pain?

  • Do they have a bladder infection?

Ring the resident's Doctor and request a visit.  Always provide as much  information as possible about what has happened and how the resident now appears  

Always check the care plans and make sure you understand the person and their preferences of care

Stay with the resident, reassure, and approach gently. Always provide an explanation to the resident and carers of any procedure or activity you are carrying out using short simple sentences


A consistent daily calm routine is better for someone if they are confused.

Provide regular and repeated visible and verbal clues as to the time of day,  time of year and today's date.  

Eliminate if possible unexpected and irritating noise (e.g.  alarms)

Maintain good lighting levels in all rooms appropriate to the time of day.

Knowing your resident

Use short simple sentences and always explain what you are doing.

Give the resident time to understand you.

Avoid physical restraints, approach and handle gently.

Always try to maintain or restore normal sleep patterns

Check if the resident needs to visit the toilet.

Encouraging visits from familiar friends and relatives may help to calm an agitated resident.

Always explain to a relative the nature of the confusion.