A survey about postoperative delirium in older patients among nurses and anaesthetists: implications for future practice and policy

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Journal of Research in Nursing


Background: Postoperative delirium is a major complication associated with anaesthesia and surgery, more commonly seen in older people. Aims: The aims of this study were to explore the knowledge and understanding of anaesthetists and nurses involved in anaesthesia through their responses to two case scenarios of postoperative delirium experienced by older people. Methods: A 30-item online survey was sent to 500 potential respondents. Results: Two hundred and twenty-six practitioners from Australia, New Zealand and Scotland responded. Most had no workplace protocols for anaesthesia planning in older people. There was substantial variability in practice in relation to postoperative delirium screening, detection, prevention and management. Conclusions: Improvements in education and awareness, together with a more coherent approach, for example, as recommended in the European Society of Anaesthesiology Guidelines, could help to reduce the impact of postoperative delirium in older people. This should be combined with ongoing research into perioperative optimisation of detection, prevention and management of postoperative delirium.

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