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AACN CSI Academy, ABCDE, CAM-ICU, Delirium, PAD guidelines



  1. DiLibero, Justin MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN, ACCNS-AG
  2. O'Donoghue, Sharon C. MS, RN, CNS
  3. DeSanto-Madeya, Susan PhD, RN, CNS
  4. Felix, Janice BSN, RN, CCRN
  5. Ninobla, Annalyn BSN, RN
  6. Woods, Allison BSN, RN, CCRN


Background: Delirium occurs in up to 80% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Despite its prevalence in this population, there continues to be inaccuracies in delirium assessments. In the absence of accurate delirium assessments, delirium in critically ill ICU patients will remain unrecognized and will lead to negative clinical and organizational outcomes.


Objectives: The goal of this quality improvement project was to facilitate sustained improvement in the accuracy of delirium assessments among all ICU patients including those who were sedate or agitated.


Methods: A pretest-posttest design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a program to improve the accuracy of delirium screenings among patients admitted to a medical ICU or coronary care unit.


Results: Two hundred thirty-six delirium assessment audits were completed during the baseline period and 535 during the postintervention period. Compliance with performing at least 1 delirium assessment every shift was 85% at baseline and improved to 99% during the postintervention period. Baseline assessment accuracy was 70.31% among all patients and 53.49% among sedate and agitated patients. Postintervention assessment accuracy improved to 95.51% for all patients and 89.23% among sedate and agitated patients.


Conclusion: The results from this project suggest the effectiveness of the program in improving assessment accuracy among difficult-to-assess patients. Further research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this model across other critical care units, patient populations, and organizations.