Delirium education and post-anaesthetics care unit nurses’ knowledge on recognising and managing delirium in older patients

Publication Name

Aging Clinical and Experimental Research


Background: Postoperative delirium (POD) is a major complication following a surgical procedure. There is evidence that improving knowledge about POD could enhance POD care and patient outcomes. Aim: The study aimed to evaluate whether the amount of delirium education among registered nurses working in post-anaesthetics care units (PACU) impacts on their self-reported confidence and competence in recognising and managing delirium as well as prior knowledge on factors that influence the risk of delirium onset for older people. Method: The current study utilised an online survey on delirium care practice among registered nurses in PACUs. The survey consisted of 27 items. There were questions about confidence and competence in delirium care, knowledge about delirium risk factors, and ranked responses to two case scenario questions to evaluate the application of POD care. There were also demographic questions, including previous experience with delirium care education. Results: A total of 336 responses were generated from registered nurses working in PACU. Our findings found substantial variability among the respondents about their delirium care education. The amount of delirium education did not influence the PACU registered nurses’ confidence or competence in delirium care. In addition, previous education did not have an impact on their knowledge about delirium risk factors. Discussion and conclusion: These findings suggested that the quantity of prior education about delirium did not improve the confidence, competence, knowledge, or case scenario questions of PACU registered nurses. Thus, delirium care education needs to be transformed to ensure it has a positive effect on delirium care clinical practice by registered nurses in PACU.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute



Link to publisher version (DOI)