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A nurse-led intervention to reduce the incidence and duration of delirium among adults admitted to intensive care: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial

Published:September 28, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aucc.2022.08.005

      Abstract

      Background

      Delirium is an acute change in behaviour, characterised by a fluctuating course, inattention, and disorganised thinking. For critically ill adults in the intensive care, the incidence of delirium has been reported to be at least 30% and is associated with both short-term and long-term complications, longer hospital stay, increased risk of mortality, and long-term cognitive problems.

      Aim

      The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a nurse-led delirium-prevention protocol in reducing the incidence and duration of delirium among adults admitted to intensive care.

      Methods

      A hybrid stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the implementation and dissemination of the nurse-led intervention to reduce the incidence and duration of delirium among adults admitted to the four adults intensive care units in the southwest of Sydney, Australia.

      Results

      Between May 2019 and February 2020, over a 10-month period, 2618 admissions, among 2566 patients, were included in the study. After an initial 3-month baseline period, each month there was a random crossover to the nurse-led intervention in one of the four intensive care units, and by the 7th month of the trial, all units were exposed to the intervention for at least 3 months. The incidence of acute delirium was observed to be 10.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 9.1–12.4%), compared to 14.1% (95% CI = 12.2–16.2%) during the preintervention (baseline) period (adjusted rate ratio [adjRR] = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.57–1.08, p = 0.134). The average delirium-free-days for these preintervention and postintervention periods were 4.1 days (95% CI = 3.9–4.3) and 4.4 days (95% CI = 4.2–4.5), respectively (adjusted difference = 0.24 days [95% CI = −0.12 to 0.60], p = 0.199).

      Conclusion

      Following the introduction of a nurse-led, nonpharmacological intervention to reduce the burden of delirium, among adults admitted to intensive care, we observed no statistically significant decrease in the incidence of delirium or the duration of delirium.

      Keywords

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