Delirium: The lived experience of older people who are delirious post-orthopaedic surgery
Pollard, C and Fitzgerald, M and Ford, K, Delirium: The lived experience of older people who are delirious post-orthopaedic surgery, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24, (3) pp. 213-221. ISSN 1445-8330 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2015 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
Delirium is a common, potentially preventable and reversible cause of postoperative functional disability, morbidity, and mortality. It can lead to increased health-care use and also poses a substantial challenge for nurses caring for patients who experience delirium after surgery. Predominantly, the published work concentrates on diagnosis, reduction of the modifiable risk factors, and treatments. Compared with this body of published work, the experience of delirium from a patientís perspective has been largely ignored except for a limited number of qualitative research reports. The importance of researching the lived experience of delirium is that a better understanding may lead to more empathic, therapeutic nursing care and help other sufferers to know they are not alone. The aims of the study were to explore and clarify the lived experience of delirium. Eleven patients were recruited to the study following discharge post-surgery from an orthopaedic ward of a major tertiary hospital. The study used a qualitative descriptive approach and incorporated grounded theory data analysis processes. The findings of this study provide an insight into the incomprehensible emotional pain suffered by patients while they were delirious and the disparate feelings of remorse, guilt, and shame they experienced after the episode of delirium. Following this study, recommendations for nursing practice include formal follow-up support for patients with post-delirium episodes and more research into the long-term impact of the experience of delirium.