Delirium poses increased morbidity and mortality risks for hospitalized patients. Underrecognition by health care providers contributes to poor outcomes for patients. Little has been published about methods used to teach health care providers how to screen for delirium using the Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU).


To evaluate the effectiveness of a multimodal educational intervention for nurses in the medical intensive care unit to improve their knowledge and skills regarding delirium and delirium recognition.


An educational intervention was done in the medical intensive care unit of an academic medical center. Effectiveness was evaluated via a quasi-experimental design and using preintervention and postintervention assessments. Procedural correctness of performing the CAM-ICU delirium screening also was measured.


Nurses participated in 1 small-group session (n = 34). Fifteen sessions were conducted from June to September 2016, and assessments were completed before and after the intervention. The sample consisted of predominantly nurses with a bachelor’s degree (56%) who had 1 to 5 years’ experience (59%). Mean scores overall and on the knowledge subscale differed significantly (P < .001) from before to after the intervention. No correlation was found between demographic groups and score differences. Seventy-nine percent of participants used the tool correctly after the intervention.


The educational intervention provided for these nurses further validated published reports of the benefits of an educational program about delirium. The content of the educational intervention should be targeted for the setting, the risk factors for the patient population in question, and the specific delirium screening tool used.

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