Delirium (acute confusion) in elderly people is common and can present as an emergency. The magnitude of the problem is often overlooked or underestimated in clinical practice. Many healthcare providers find that caring for delirious patients is very stressful. However, with systematic screening, preventive interventions, and immediate treatment, the incidence, duration and severity of delirium can be appropriately managed, which in turn can minimise complications and long-term damage. Successful intervention programs that are based on targeted and interdisciplinary multicomponent strategies have been developed. Nurses can play a pivotal role in these types of delirium management programs. The stress of caring for delirious patients can also be reduced through the implementation of such programs.