Confused state

Choose the right healthcare service to get the care you need and to enable the NHS to help the greatest number of people.

AMBER It is urgent but not life threatening

If a friend or relative is becoming increasingly forgetful or confused

In older people, forgetfulness and confusion are sometimes signs of dementia

Call 111 or visit


Contact a GP Practice

RED It is a life-threatening medical emergency

Sudden confusion, including:

Unable to think or speak clearly, quickly, or at all

Unsure of own name or cannot answer questions


Newly unable to pay attention, remember or understand simply instructions being communicated that would normally be expected


Call 999, or go straight to Emergency Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham

Immediate first aid:

  • illuminate the environment
  • ensure they have hearing aids and glasses (if required)
  • stay with the person and reassure them, tell them who you are and where they are – familiarity helps reorientation
  • use simple words and short sentences
  • make a note of any medicines they are taking, if possible
  • do not ask lots of questions
  • do not stop the person moving around, unless they are in danger, but do not leave them alone outside of a house