Can education improve clinical practice concerning delirium in older hospitalised patients? Results of a pre-test post-test study on an educational intervention for nursing staff

Eveline L. van Velthuijsen*, Sandra M. G. Zwakhalen, Ron M. J. Warnier, Ton Ambergen, Wubbo J. Mulder, Frans R. J. Verhey, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Delirium is a common and serious complication of hospitalisation in older adults. It can lead to prolonged hospital stay, institutionalisation, and even death. However, it often remains unrecognised or is not managed adequately. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of an educational intervention for nursing staff on three aspects of clinical practice concerning delirium in older hospitalised patients: the frequency and correctness of screening for delirium using the 13-item Delirium Observation Screening score (DOS), and the frequency of geriatric consultations requested for older patients. The a priori expectations were that there would be an increase in all three of these outcomes. Methods: We designed an educational intervention and implemented this on two inpatient hospital units. Before providing the educational session, the nursing staff was asked to fill out two questionnaires about delirium in older hospitalised patients. The educational session was then tailored to each unit based on the results of these questionnaires. Additionally, posters and flyers with information on the screening and management of delirium were provided and participants were shown where to find additional information. Relevant data (outcomes, demographics and background patient data) were collected retrospectively from digital medical files. Data was retrospectively collected for four different time points: three pre-test and one post-test. Results: There was a significant increase in frequency of delirium screening (P = 0.001), and both units showed an increase in the correctness of the screening. No significant effect of the educational intervention was found for the proportion of patients who received a geriatric consultation (P = 0.083). Conclusion: The educational intervention was fairly successful in making positive changes in clinical practice: after the educational session an improvement in the frequency and correctness of screening for delirium was observed. A trend, though not significant, towards an increase in the proportion of geriatric consultations for older hospitalised patients was also observed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Delirium
  • Educational intervention
  • PRECEDE model
  • Hospital
  • NURSES
  • CARE
  • RECOGNITION
  • INPATIENTS
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • PROGRAM
  • STRAIN

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