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A Pilot Study to Test the Feasibility of a Nonpharmacologic Intervention for the Prevention of Delirium in the Medical Intensive Care Unit

Foster, Jan PhD, APRN, CNS, CCRN; Kelly, Miranda DNP, APRN, CNS, ACNP-BC

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e3182a0b9f9
Feature Article

Purpose/Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine the feasibility of and test a multicomponent, nonpharmacologic, nurse-driven intervention for prevention of delirium.

Design: This was a prospective, cohort pilot study.

Setting: This study was carried out in a 12-bed medical intensive care unit in a Magnet-designated community hospital in a major metropolitan city in the Southwest United States.

Sample: A convenience sample of consented patients meeting inclusion criteria was included in this study.

Methods: A multicomponent prevention protocol consisting of sedation cessation, sleep-wake cycles, sensory stimulation, mobility, and music was tested.

Findings: Capturing data for the interventions was problematic. Insufficient documentation systems and inadequate multidisciplinary participation in carrying out the protocol, especially mobility, were barriers.

Conclusions: There was little difference in the proportion of delirium before and after intervention. Success in the identification and prevention of delirium requires a multidisciplinary approach.

Implications: Further research is needed using a larger sample size. Refinement of a mobility program is needed.

Author Affiliations: Associate Professor, College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University, Houston (Dr Foster); Critical Care Nurse Practitioner, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, Texas (Dr Kelly).

Funding for this pilot research study was provided by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses Beta Chapter.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Jan Foster, PhD, APRN, CNS, CCRN, Texas Woman’s University, 6700 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77030 (;

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins