Delirium in Patients With Cancer: What Nurses Need to Know to Improve Care

Sharon LaFever

Angela Bory

John Nelson

delirium care and prevention, inpatients with cancer, nursing education
CJON 2015, 19(5), 585-590. DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.585-590

Background: Delirium is a serious problem when caring for a patient with cancer in the hospital. Delirium causes major risks and concerns for patients, family members, and healthcare workers, and it often goes unrecognized and has many clinical manifestations.

Objectives: This article aims to evaluate whether a nursing educational program on the topic of delirium would increase the nursing staff’s knowledge and confidence in managing patients with delirium.

Methods: A repeated-measures research design using general linear modeling was used for this study. An evidence-based delirium protocol and an educational session were developed for the nursing staff on an inpatient medical-surgical oncology unit. The nurses attended a delirium educational session to learn about risk factors, prevention, assessment, and management of delirium, as well as the use of the delirium protocol.

Findings: The nursing educational program on the topic of delirium increased the nursing staff’s knowledge from 69% to 86%, and overall confidence in managing patients with delirium increased from 47% to 66%. This study confirms the benefits of delirium education in the inpatient medical-surgical oncology setting.

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