Picking at the air.....

  1. when i was in nursing school 10 years ago, one of my instructors told us the term used to describe when a person picks at the air.

    i thought i remembered the term, but unfortunately i cannot find it anywhere, so i must have remembered it wrong. if anyone could help me with this, i would really appreciate it!

    thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   jemb
    I've heard it called 'woolgathering', but I don't think that is anything official.
  4. by   BRANDY LPN
    Quote from jemb
    I've heard it called 'woolgathering', but I don't think that is anything official.
    I always thought woolgathering was the same as daydreaming. Maybe it has multiple uses.
  5. by   Koalablue
    `de novo automatism'??
  6. by   b1spth68
    i'm just new today...so hello to all. i'm from ontario canada. we have had many pts (picking at the air) when they get to a certain stage. i believe they are looking at something that only they can see. i thought it was quite common. my dad did the same just before he died. though, i haven't followed through on it, i would like to know what it's all about... b1spth68
  7. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I call it picking grapes. We tend to see it in the kiddies experiencing opioid withdrawal.
  8. by   gladtobeOB
    I am thinking something like tardive dyskinesia but I don't think that is actually right either.......let me think some more.
  9. by   Yellow Rose RN
    It is possibly.....
    Pill rolling? It is a symptom of tardive dyskinesia. It seems as if a person is "rolling" a small peice of something in between their fingers
  10. by   talaxandra
    We always use 'plucking' because it looks as though they're plucking something invisible. I know it doesn't sound technical, but the residents, registrars and consultants use it too. Oh, and though pill-rolling doesn't sound technical I believe that's the right term for those rhythmic rolling movements you get with some tardive dyskenesias
  11. by   redheadRN
    Hi there all! I'm new to this, but at our LTC facility we see alot of Alzheimer's residents with this symptom. It's called carphologia.
  12. by   systemloc
    The Greek term "Carphologia" literally means "picking at chips", and is often used to describe picking at the air, lint, clothing, and bedding. It was first described by Hippocrates as a particularly bad prognostic sign in delirium. There's a short bit in wikipedia that mentions a few other less commonly used terms.

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