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Published on August 03, 2015

Patient Story: Judy Demers

Judy DemersJudy Demers is grateful she doesn’t remember much about the day after her knee replacement surgery at Concord Hospital. She argued with nurses. She didn’t recognize her husband of 54 years. She tried to jump out of bed. She was angry, silly, confused – seeing penguins on her toes and lady bugs on her drinking straw. Judy was experiencing delirium – the sudden, severe confusion common among elderly patients in a hospital.

“It really bothered me afterward, when they told me I was angry. I’m not an angry person,” said the antiques dealer from Groton.

Sue Cote of Newport, Judy’s daughter, saw it all and reported it to her mother’s nurses, who had been specially trained to help recognize delirium and respond appropriately.

“They were wonderful to her and they were very supportive of me,” sue said.

Judy returned to normal after about 24 hours. During her confusion, nurses engaged her in calm conversation, asking questions and
being careful not to correct her if Judy had the wrong answers. They even went along if she broke into song or nursery rhymes.

“They laughed with me, not at me,” Judy said.