Intensive care nurses' experiences and perceptions of delirium and delirium care.

Katarzyna Zamoscik, Rosemary Godbold, Pauline Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore nurses' experiences and perceptions of delirium, managing delirious patients, and screening for delirium, five years after introduction of the Confusion Assessment Method for Intensive Care into standard practice.

Research design and setting: Twelve nurses from a medical-surgical intensive care unit in a large teaching hospital attended two focus group sessions. The collected qualitative data was thematically analysed using Braun and Clarke's framework (2006).

Findings: The analysis identified seven themes: (1) Delirium as a Secondary Matter (2) Unpleasant Nature of Delirium (3) Scepticism About Delirium Assessment (4) Distrust in Delirium Management (5) Value of Communication (6) Non-pharmacological Therapy (7) Need for Reviewed Delirium Policy.

Conclusion: Nurses described perceiving delirium as a low priority matter and linked it to work culture within the intensive care specialty. Simultaneously, they expressed their readiness to challenge this culture and to promote the notion of providing high-quality delirium care. Nurses discussed their frustrations related to lack of confidence in assessing delirium, as well as lack of effective therapies in managing this group of patients. They declared their appreciation for non-pharmacological interventions in treatment of delirium, suggested improvements to current delirium approach and proposed introducing psychological support for nurses dealing with delirious patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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