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Rehabil Nurs. 1999 Jan-Feb;24(1):7-12, 23.

Nurses' assessment of patients' cognitive orientation in a rehabilitation setting.

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  • 1Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, NJ 07052, USA.


Orientation is a critical determinant of a patient's neurological status and an indicator of change in condition during hospitalization. The ways rehabilitation nurses assess orientation and the manner in which findings are interpreted and reported can have significant implications for the care of neurologically compromised patients. This study used a questionnaire to examine how 52 nurses appraised and reported the results of orientation evaluations. Analyses produced descriptive statistics and correlational measures for determining nurses' tendencies and consistency in evaluating orientation. Most respondents, regardless of their education and experience, used a clinical interview, rather than psychometric tests, as a basis for forming opinions about orientation. Although most evaluations included assessments in terms of person, time, place, and circumstance, no consistent pattern emerged regarding questioning or in the ways results were reported. Findings revealed a significant lack of consensus in terms of assessing and reporting orientation results, which could reflect insufficient awareness about the importance of maintaining consistency in evaluations, the relevance of using standardized evaluations and comparing measures over time, and the necessity of agreeing on how to report cognitive disturbances.

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