Managing delirium in terminally ill patients: perspective of palliative care nurse specialists

Clare Harris, Juliet Spiller, Anne Finucane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Delirium occurs frequently at end of life. Palliative care clinical nurse specialists (CNS) are involved in community palliative care provision. Many patients prefer being cared for at home yet managing delirium in this setting presents unique challenges, potentially resulting in emergency hospital or hospice admission. We examined the experiences and current practice of palliative care CNSs managing delirium in the community. 10 interviews were undertaken. Data was analysed using the framework approach.
Challenges to delirium management in the community included limited time with patients, reliance on families and access to medications. Assessment tools were not used routinely; time limited visits and inconsistent retesting were perceived barriers. Management approaches differed depending on CNSs previous delirium education. Strategies to prevent delirium were not used.
Conclusions: Community delirium management presents challenges; support surrounding these could be beneficial. Routine assessment tool use and delirium prevention strategies should be included in further education and research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-352
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
Issue number7
Early online date2 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jul 2020


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