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1.  Recognizing acute delirium as part of your routine [RADAR]: a validation study 
BMC Nursing  2015;14:19.
Although detection of delirium using the current tools is excellent in research settings, in routine clinical practice, this is not the case. Together with nursing staff, we developed a screening tool (RADAR) to address certain limitations of existing tools, notably administration time, ease-of-use and generalizability. The purpose of this study was not only to evaluate the validity and reliability of RADAR but also to gauge its acceptability among the nursing staff in two different clinical settings.
This was a validation study conducted on three units of an acute care hospital (medical, cardiology and coronary care) and five units of a long-term care facility. A total of 142 patients and 51 residents aged 65 and over, with or without dementia, participated in the study and 139 nurses were recruited and trained to use the RADAR tool. Data on each patient/resident was collected over a 12-hour period. The nursing staff and researchers administered RADAR during the scheduled distribution of medication. Researchers used the Confusion Assessment Method to determine the presence of delirium symptoms. Delirium itself was defined as meeting the criteria for DMS-IV-TR delirium. Inter-rater reliability, convergent, and concurrent validity of RADAR were assessed. At study end, 103 (74%) members of the nursing staff completed the RADAR feasibility and acceptability questionnaire.
Percentages of agreement between RADAR items that bedside nurses administered and those research assistants administered varied from 82% to 98%. When compared with DSM-IV-TR criterion-defined delirium, RADAR had a sensitivity of 73% and a specificity of 67%. Participating nursing staff took about seven seconds on average, to complete the tool and it was very well received (≥98%) overall.
The RADAR tool proved to be efficient, reliable, sensitive and very well accepted by nursing staff. Consequently, it becomes an appropriate new option for delirium screening among older adults, with or without cognitive impairment, in both hospitals and nursing homes. Further projects are currently underway to validate the RADAR among middle-aged adults, as well as in newer clinical settings; home care, emergency department, medical intensive care unit, and palliative care.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12912-015-0070-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4384313  PMID: 25844067
Delirium; Screening tool; Elderly; Long-term care; Acute care; Cognitive impairment
2.  Detection of delirium by nurses among long-term care residents with dementia 
BMC Nursing  2008;7:4.
Delirium is a prevalent problem in long-term care (LTC) facilities where advanced age and cognitive impairment represent two important risk factors for this condition. Delirium is associated with numerous negative outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality. Despite its clinical importance, delirium often goes unrecognized by nurses. Although rates of nurse-detected delirium have been studied among hospitalized older patients, this issue has been largely neglected among demented older residents in LTC settings. The goals of this study were to determine detection rates of delirium and delirium symptoms by nurses among elderly residents with dementia and to identify factors associated with undetected cases of delirium.
In this prospective study (N = 156), nurse ratings of delirium were compared to researcher ratings of delirium. This procedure was repeated for 6 delirium symptoms. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were computed. Logistic regressions were conducted to identify factors associated with delirium that is undetected by nurses.
Despite a high prevalence of delirium in this cohort (71.5%), nurses were able to detect the delirium in only a minority of cases (13%). Of the 134 residents not identified by nurses as having delirium, only 29.9% of them were correctly classified. Detection rates for the 6 delirium symptoms varied between 39.1% and 58.1%, indicating an overall under-recognition of symptoms of delirium. Only the age of the residents (≥ 85 yrs) was associated with undetected delirium (OR: 4.1; 90% CI: [1.5–11.0]).
Detection of delirium is a major issue for nurses that clearly needs to be addressed. Strategies to improve recognition of delirium could result in a reduction of adverse outcomes for this very vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC2277396  PMID: 18302791
3.  Physical restraint use among nursing home residents: A comparison of two data collection methods 
BMC Nursing  2004;3:5.
In view of the issues surrounding physical restraint use, it is important to have a method of measurement as valid and reliable as possible. We determined the sensitivity and specificity of physical restraint use a) reported by nursing staff and b) reviewed from medical and nursing records in nursing home settings, by comparing these methods with direct observation.
We sampled eight care units in skilled nursing homes, seven care units in nursing homes and one long-term care unit in a hospital, from eight facilities which included 28 nurses and 377 residents. Physical restraint use was assessed the day following three periods of direct observation by two different means: interview with one or several members of the regular nursing staff, and review of medical and nursing records. Sensitivity and specificity values were calculated according to 2-by-2 contingency tables. Differences between the methods were assessed using the phi coefficient. Other information collected included: demographic characteristics, disruptive behaviors, body alignment problems, cognitive and functional skills.
Compared to direct observation (gold standard), reported restraint use by nursing staff yielded a sensitivity of 87.4% at a specificity of 93.7% (phi = 0.84). When data was reviewed from subjects' medical and nursing records, sensitivity was reduced to 74.8%, and specificity to 86.3% (phi = 0.54). Justifications for restraint use including risk for falls, agitation, body alignment problems and aggressiveness were associated with the use of physical restraints.
The interview of nursing staff and the review of medical and nursing records are both valid and reliable techniques for measuring physical restraint use among nursing home residents. Higher sensitivity and specificity values were achieved when nursing staff was interviewed as compared to reviewing medical records. This study suggests that the interview of nursing staff is a more reliable method of data collection.
PMCID: PMC526298  PMID: 15488144
4.  Factors associated with psychotropic drug use among community-dwelling older persons: A review of empirical studies 
BMC Nursing  2004;3:3.
In the many descriptive studies on prescribed psychotropic drug use by community-dwelling older persons, several sociodemographic and other factors associated with drug use receive inconsistent support.
Empirical reports with data on at least benzodiazepine or antidepressant drug use in samples of older persons published between 1990 and 2001 (n = 32) were identified from major databases and analyzed to determine which factors are most frequently associated with psychotropic drug use in multivariate analyses. Methodological aspects were also examined.
Most reports used probability samples of users and non-users and employed cross-sectional designs. Among variables considered in 5 or more reports, race, proximity to health centers, medical consultations, sleep complaints, and health perception were virtually always associated to drug use. Gender, mental health, and physical health status were associated in about two-thirds of reports. Associations with age, marital status, medication coverage, socioeconomic status, and social support were usually not observed.
The large variety of methods to operationalize drug use, mental health status, and social support probably affected the magnitude of observed relationships. Employing longitudinal designs and distinguishing short-term from long-term use, focusing on samples of drug users exclusively, defining drug use and drug classes more uniformly, and utilizing measures of psychological well-being rather than only of distress, might clarify the nature of observed associations and the direction of causality. Few studies tested specific hypotheses. Most studies focused on individual characteristics of respondents, neglecting the potential contribution of health care professionals to the phenomenon of psychotropic drug use among seniors.
PMCID: PMC514897  PMID: 15310409

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