Understanding critical care nurses’ prioritization of patient care

Delirium is a complication of a critical care (CC) admission. Although usually reversible, it can lead to long-term impaired thinking, poor mental health and increased mortality. Upwards of 80% of people admitted to CC will experience delirium. Research has been done to understand delirium and to prevent it. Factors that are known to help prevent delirium include a day-night routine, encouraging movement, and reducing sedating medications. CC nurses have control over many of these factors, but implementing strategies to prevent delirium remains sub-optimal. The lack of information about how CC nurses prioritize care to prevent delirium in the busy healthcare system leaves limited guidance for making change. This study aims to examine how CC nurses prioritize delirium-related patient care and to identify challenges and opportunities for change. The research will use surveys and interviews to gather data. This research is important for identifying gaps and opportunities to implement delirium prevention strategies needed to improve patient outcomes. The findings will allow CC teams to create a system to support a change in practice to improve the care and outcomes of patients.