The impact of a model of nurse education to improve knowledge and recognition of delirium in older persons by registered nurses

McCrow, Judy Maree (2012) The impact of a model of nurse education to improve knowledge and recognition of delirium in older persons by registered nurses. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Introduction: Delirium is a serious issue associated with high morbidity and mortality in older hospitalised people. Early recognition enables diagnosis and treatment of underlying cause/s, which can lead to improved patient outcomes. However, research shows knowledge and accurate nurse recognition of delirium and is poor and lack of education appears to be a key issue related to this problem. Thus, the purpose of this randomised controlled trial (RCT) was to evaluate, in a sample of registered nurses, the usability and effectiveness of a web-based learning site, designed using constructivist learning principles, to improve acute care nurse knowledge and recognition of delirium. Prior to undertaking the RCT preliminary phases involving; validation of vignettes, video-taping five of the validated vignettes, website development and pilot testing were completed.

Methods: The cluster RCT involved consenting registered nurse participants (N = 175) from twelve clinical areas within three acute health care facilities in Queensland, Australia. Data were collected through a variety of measures and instruments. Primary outcomes were improved ability of nurses to recognise delirium using written validated vignettes and improved knowledge of delirium using a delirium knowledge questionnaire. The secondary outcomes were aimed at determining nurse satisfaction and usability of the website.

Primary outcome measures were taken at baseline (T1), directly after the intervention (T2) and two months later (T3). The secondary outcomes were measured at T2 by participants in the intervention group.

Following baseline data collection remaining participants were assigned to either the intervention (n=75) or control (n=72) group. Participants in the intervention group were given access to the learning intervention while the control group continued to work in their clinical area and at that time, did not receive access to the learning intervention. Data from the primary outcome measures were examined in mixed model analyses.

Results: Overall, the effect of the online learning intervention over time comparing the intervention group and the control group were positive. The intervention groups‘ scores were higher and the change over time results were statistically significant [T3 and T1 (t=3.78 p=<0.001) and T2 and T1 baseline (t=5.83 p=<0.001)]. Statistically significant improvements were also seen for delirium recognition when comparing T2 and T1 results (t=2.58 p=0.012) between the control and intervention group but not for changes in delirium recognition scores between the two groups from T3 and T1 (t=1.80 p=0.074).

The majority of the participants rated the website highly on the visual, functional and content elements. Additionally, nearly 80% of the participants liked the overall website features and there were self-reported improvements in delirium knowledge and recognition by the registered nurses in the intervention group.

Discussion: Findings from this study support the concept that online learning is an effective and satisfying method of information delivery.

Embedded within a constructivist learning environment the site produced a high level of satisfaction and usability for the registered nurse end-users.

Additionally, the results showed that the website significantly improved delirium knowledge & recognition scores and the improvement in delirium knowledge was retained at a two month follow-up. Given the strong effect of the intervention the online delirium intervention should be utilised as a way of providing information to registered nurses. It is envisaged that this knowledge would lead to improved recognition of delirium as well as improvement in patient outcomes however; translation of this knowledge attainment into clinical practice was outside the scope of this study. A critical next step is demonstrating the effect of the intervention in changing clinical behaviour, and improving patient health outcomes.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 55161
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Beattie, Elizabeth, Park, Ji Yong, & Sullivan, Karen A.
Keywords: delirium, dementia, delirium superimposed on dementia, education, nursing, constructivism, online learning, vignettes, older person
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 Nov 2012 00:54
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 11:03

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