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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2014

Can an e-learning course improve nursing care for older people at risk of delirium: a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial

Zeitschrift:
BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2014
Autoren:
Lotte van de Steeg, Roelie IJkema, Maaike Langelaan, Cordula Wagner
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2318-14-69) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

CW, ML, and LS collectively developed the study design. CW conceived of the study, and led the application for current funding through the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. LS and RI were involved in the acquisition of data. LS did most of the analyses and wrote the first draft and final revision of this manuscript. CW, ML and RI reviewed the manuscript and provided input into initial and final revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Abstract

Background

Delirium occurs frequently in older hospitalised patients and is associated with several adverse outcomes. Ignorance among healthcare professionals and a failure to recognise patients suffering from delirium have been identified as the possible causes of poor care. The objective of the study was to determine whether e-learning can be an effective means of improving implementation of a quality improvement project in delirium care. This project aims primarily at improving the early recognition of older patients who are at risk of delirium.

Methods

In a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial an e-learning course on delirium was introduced, aimed at nursing staff. The trial was conducted on general medical and surgical wards from 18 Dutch hospitals. The primary outcome measure was the delirium risk screening conducted by nursing staff, measured through monthly patient record reviews. Patient records from patients aged 70 and over admitted onto wards participating in the study were used for data collection. Data was also collected on the level of delirium knowledge of these wards’ nursing staff.

Results

Records from 1,862 older patients were included during the control phase and from 1,411 patients during the intervention phase. The e-learning course on delirium had a significant positive effect on the risk screening of older patients by nursing staff (OR 1.8, p-value <0.01), as well as on other aspects of delirium care. The number of patients diagnosed with delirium was reduced from 11.2% in the control phase to 8.7% in the intervention phase (p = 0.04). The e-learning course also showed a significant positive effect on nurses’ knowledge of delirium.

Conclusions

Nurses who undertook a delirium e-learning course showed a greater adherence to the quality improvement project in delirium care. This improved the recognition of patients at risk and demonstrated that e-learning can be a valuable instrument for hospitals when implementing improvements in delirium care.

Trial registration

The Netherlands National Trial Register (NTR). Trial number: NTR2885.
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