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Non-pharmacological methods to prevent and manage delirium

Madiha Shaikh, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Critical Care Psychology at King George & Queens Hospitals, delivered a project as part of the QI Facilitator Cohort 14 on non-pharmacological methods to prevent and manage delirium. A result of this project was an insightful animation, funded through the I nno vation Cave . The video addresses challenges associated with delirium and agitation in patients, advocating for the avoidance of pharmaceutical  interventions.  

Staff training incorporating the video yielded significant positive outcomes. Among 31 respondents, there was a remarkable increase in awareness, confidence, and likelihood to use non-pharmaceutical interventions, measured at 74%, 70%, and 68%, respectively. This highlights the video's impactful influence on st aff percept ions and practice.  

Suggestions include avoiding or carefully managing drugs that can induce or worsen delirium, considering the impact of drug withdrawal, and paying attention to sleep patterns. Practical tips i nclude main taining patients' normal sleep patterns, addressing dehydration, using aids like glasses and hearing devices , and creating a familiar and reassuring environment.  

Communication strategies are also discussed, the importance of explaining treatments, empathising with patients, and using non-verbal cues. Encouraging social interaction, providing familiar belongings, and engaging patients in mental activities like puzzles are recommended to prevent isolation and disorientation.   

Overall, the video promotes a holistic and patient-centred approach to delirium care, suggesting that small changes in healthcare providers' behaviour can significantly improve patients' experiences and potentially prevent delirium.  

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