Fast Fact #349 has been released: Catatonia. Thank you to the authors, Richard Weinberg, MD, Daniel Fishman, MD, and Pierre Azzam, MD for the new addition to the Fast Fact library.
Cognitive changes are very common as seriously ill patients progress through the dying process. Such changes can come on abruptly and significantly compromise a patient’s ability to meaningfully interact with loved ones prior to death. Although delirium is the most common etiology for these changes in cognition and wakefulness, there are several neurologic conditions which can mimic terminal delirium. Catatonia is a neuro-psychiatric condition which can be mistaken for delirium. Because the treatment for catatonia is quite distinct from delirium. it is important that clinicians who care for dying patients know how to identify and treat catatonia. For more information on delirium, see Fast Facts #1, 60 and 160. Additionally, if you are a PCNOW member, go to the Resources tab on the PCNOW website. From there you should be able to easily find free lectures and educational materials about delirium on the “Improve Your Clinical Knowledge” and “Lecture Series: Clinical Topics” weblinks.