Raising awareness of delirium across the South Island

News
11 Apr 2019
Kelsey Proudman (left) and staff at Bainfield Park Residential Home. 

South Island Alliance delirium resources supported a successful World Delirium Awareness Day last month.

Nursing graduate Kelsey Proudman was one of the organisers of a range of events and activities that took place across the South Island to increase recognition of delirium as a top priority for health care providers. Staff at Invercargill’s Bainfield Park Residential Home wore purple on the day and Kelsey, who joined the team in January, created a delirium fact sheet and quiz for them to fill out, with spot prizes.

The day was a success at the facility and Kelsey says greater awareness of delirium is crucial for all health professionals, especially to differentiate between delirium and dementia. “Delirium is very common and can develop so quickly, so it’s really important we know all the factors that cause it, as well as the best ways to treat it.”

World Delirium Awareness Day was created to inspire positive action among health care providers and the community to recognise, prevent and care for people with delirium. This year’s event was held on 13 March. In the South Island, a range of resources was developed to support inpatient services and aged residential care staff, as well as patients and their families. The resources have been well received amongst health professionals across the South Island and even overseas staff have made requests to use them, from as far away as Canada, the USA, UK and Europe.

Kim Caffell, Patient Safety and Policy Advisor, and Megan Livingstone-Young, Clinical Nurse Specialist Complex Care, Southern DHB.

At Dunedin Hospital, an information table was on display for patients, staff and whānau to learn more about delirium prevention and treatment, current assessment tools and interventions. Clinical Nurse Specialist Megan Livingstone-Young says the display was busy all day, with over 50 delirium pamphlets given out to families. “The South Island Alliance resources are fantastic, particularly the inpatient tool kit and its wide array of tips and strategies for inpatient care, which was circulated to ward teams on the day and started many conversations.”

Defined as a rapid decline in brain function, even a brief delirium increases the risk of poor recovery from illness, functional decline, permanent cognitive impairment, and other health complications such as pneumonia or falls. Resources for use in community and primary care are planned for addition to the South Island Alliance’s suite of delirium resources for World Delirium Awareness Day 2020.

 

Other activities across the South Island on the day:

Staff and residents at Bupa Windsor Park Care Home on World Delirium Awareness Day in March 2019.
  • Over 60 staff at Enliven Presbyterian Support Southland attended a delirium training session and introduction to the South Island’s online learning platform, HealthLearn.
  • Yellow was the colour theme at Bupa Windsor Park Care Home in Gore. Cupcakes were given out and a quiz was created for both staff and residents, while a delirium information board was on display.
  • In Christchurch, staff at Avonlea Dementia Rest Home and Hospital dressed in purple or blue, with a shared afternoon tea and staff training on preventing delirium.
  • A dementia knowledge exchange was held at Rydges Hotel Christchurch, with delirium resources on display and available to take away.
  • At West Coast Hospital, a delirium information board was on display and nurse educator Jo Tiller visited the wards to present delirium resources, including a questionnaire for health professionals with risk factors and signs of delirium.