Disorientation

a. Disorientation is a disturbed mental state characterized by confusion regarding one's relationship to physical surroundings, time, or person. It may be a sign of underlying illness, injury, or stressful situation--not separate disease state.

NOTE: It is always important to consider the underlying contributing factors/cause of the disoriented or confused behavior. Many similar conditions, illnesses, or injuries may contribute to or cause manifestations of disorientation, disturbed behavior, and/or violent behavior. It is essential, after reacting to the particular situation presented, that each casualty or patient be carefully evaluated both physically and mentally to determine the true physiological cause of any behavioral emergency.

b. Management of a confused/disoriented patient.

(1) Prevent the patient from harming himself and/or others.

(2) Use the patient's name frequently.

(3) Give frequent reassurance as to time, place, and situation.

(4) Explain any procedures or actions simply, but in detail.

(5) Decrease sensory stimulation by providing simplified environment (a quiet and well-lit room, and so forth).

(6) Evaluate the patient for the underlying illness or injury suspected to precipitate the disorientation.

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