Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Robert McWhirt


Delirium in adults aged 65 and older is a common occurrence in the acute care setting and is often unrecognized by bedside nurses. Delirium can trigger a negative cascade of events resulting in an increase in morbidity and mortality, functional decline, longer length of stay, and high rates of post hospital institutionalization and has a significant socioeconomic impact. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to establish a solid foundation using scholarly literature to support the development of a delirium prevention, recognition, and treatment program in the medical-surgical acute care setting applying the program logic framework. The goal was accomplished by developing a structured program to enhance nurse education (phase 1) using a pretest/posttest design. Phase 2 will be implemented at a later date. The null hypothesis for the project was there is no difference between the pretest group knowledge of delirium scores and the posttest group scores following education. The results of the 36-paired pretests/posttests indicated a significant difference (p < 0.05) following the educational PowerPoint on delirium. Providing education and opportunities for bedside nurses to apply this new knowledge is an effective strategy to increase the identification of delirium, which can lead to improved patient outcomes, reduced socioeconomic burden associated with delirium, and increased positive social change. The economic impact of delirium is considerable with the average cost per day of delirium patients reaching nearly 3 times the cost of patients not having delirium. The elderly population is projected to continue to rise, which will have a profound impact on hospitals and health care as a whole.

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