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Orthopaedic Nurses' Knowledge of Delirium in Older Hospitalized Patients

Meako, Michelle E.; Thompson, Hilaire J.; Cochrane, Barbara B.

doi: 10.1097/NOR.0b013e3182247c2b

BACKGROUND: Delirium is a serious health issue experienced by many hospitalized older adults following orthopaedic surgery. Nurses often do not recognize delirium, attributing symptoms to normal changes associated with aging or dementia.

OBJECTIVES: To (a) describe orthopaedic nurses' baseline knowledge about delirium in orthopaedic patients, particularly those aged 65 years, (b) test the effectiveness of an educational intervention based on nationally recommended guidelines, and (c) describe factors associated with differences in (1) nurses' baseline knowledge about delirium and (2) the effectiveness of the educational intervention.

METHODS: A pretest–posttest study design, using an educational evidence-based intervention.

RESULTS: Regardless of education, years of experience, or shift worked, orthopaedic RNs had difficulty with questions related to recognition of delirium, predisposing, and precipitating risk factors, and medications that can contribute to delirium. The educational intervention was effective and scores significantly improved from baseline following the intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: Baseline knowledge assessment confirmed orthopaedic nurses' lack of understanding of delirium. The 1-hr educational intervention, based on nationally recommended standards, improved the nurses' knowledge and could be useful in orthopaedic nursing continuing education.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

Michelle E. Meako, MEd, MN, APRN, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, NW Geriatrics, Seattle, WA.

Hilaire J. Thompson, PhD, RN, CNRN, FAAN, Assistant Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, The University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Barbara B. Cochrane, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor and de Tornyay Endowed Professor for Healthy Aging, Department of Family and Child Nursing, The University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

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© 2011 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses