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Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 1999 Sep-Oct;10(5):426-9.

Educational interventions in delirium.

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Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.


In the absence of specific therapies, interventions for delirium are largely educational. This paper reviews educational interventions targeted at physicians, nurses, patients and their families. Most studies to date have had methodological deficiencies, and few have been developed in keeping with current principles for adult learning. Early studies focused on increased recognition of delirium, with less consistent measurement of patient centred outcomes. Subsequent studies provide limited evidence to suggest that, as a result of educational interventions, individual symptoms can be prevented, and, when delirium is present, its consequences - including death and prolonged hospital stays - can be diminished. Future studies should incorporate principles of adult learning and have improved methodological rigour. The strength of educational interventions needs to be assessed carefully. Interventions which are time-sensitive, less complex, directed to observable, patient-focused endpoints are more likely to be successful.

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