Critical care nurses: their knowledge and experiences regarding the acutely confused elderly
Kroeger, Linda L.
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The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe critical care nurses knowledge and experience regarding the acutely confused elderly. A questionnaire, developed by the investigator, was mailed to two hundred nurses who were members of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The questionnaire consisted of three parts; a case study and questions assessing the respondents' knowledge of acute confusion, questions about the respondents' past personal experiences with the elderly, and a section on demographics. The response rate was 45%. The essential findings were: 1) the mean score on the knowledge items was 60% correct 2) ICU nurses had limited personal experiences with confused elderly people 3) neither level of education nor years of nursing experience affected how well the respondents did on the knowledge items 4) ICU nurses tended to attribute the cause of acute confusion in an elderly patient to ICU psychosis. Further research needs to be done on the etiology and characteristics of acute confusion and on nursing actions and interventions concerning the acutely confused elderly patient. The concept of ICU psychosis needs to be further explored.
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