An exploratory study of staff nurses' knowledge of delirium in the medical ICU: An Asian perspective

Christensen, Martin (2014) An exploratory study of staff nurses' knowledge of delirium in the medical ICU: An Asian perspective. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 30(1), pp. 54-60.

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The aim of this study was to establish intensive care unit nurses’ knowledge of delirium within an acute tertiary hospital within South East Asia.


Delirium is a common, life threatening and often preventable cause of morbidity and mortality among older patients. Undetected and untreated delirium is a catalyst to increased mortality, morbidity, functional decline and results in increased requirement for nursing care, healthcare expense and hospital length of stay. However, despite effective assessment tools to identify delirium in the acute setting, there still remains an inability of ICU nurses’ to accurately identify delirium in the critically ill patient especially that of hypoactive delirium.


A purposive sample of 53 staff nurses from a 13-bedded medical intensive care unit within an acute tertiary teaching hospital in South East Asia were asked to participate. A 40 item 5-point Likert scale questionnaire was employed to determine the participants’ knowledge of the signs and symptoms; the risk factors and negative outcomes of delirium.


The overall positively answered mean score was 27 (67.3%) out of a possible 40 questions. Mean scores for knowledge of signs and symptoms, risk factors and negative outcomes were 9.52 (63.5%, n = 15), 11.43 (63.5%, n = 17) and 6.0 (75%, n = 8), respectively.


Whilst the results of this study are similar to others taken from a western perspective, it appeared that the ICU nurses in this study demonstrated limited knowledge of the signs and symptoms, risk factors and negative outcomes of delirium in the critically patient. The implications for practice of this are important given the outcomes of untreated delirium.

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ID Code: 68965
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: delirium, intensive care, ICU, Asian, nurse knowledge
DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2013.08.004
ISSN: 0964-3397
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 10 Apr 2014 23:08
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2014 21:01

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