Caring relationships during an episode of delirium on an acute older adult ward

Aisling McBride*, Belinda Dewar, Debbie Tolson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Delirium is an acute medical emergency requiring urgent intervention and management. In acute hospitals in the United Kingdom, approximately 20-30% of patients will develop a delirium. Existing evidence suggests that the occurrence of an episode of delirium can be a stressful experience for the patient, their family and staff caring for the patient.

Relationship centred care is the practice of developing supportive relationships between patients, families and staff for the purpose of creating an enhanced care environment for all involved in the delivery and receipt of care. Due to the often distressing experience of delirium, there is a need to further understand the experiences of those involved, to enhance relationship centred care in practice.

The study used an approach to research called appreciative action research. This incorporates, working in partnership, uncovering what is working well and taking collective action to enhance practice by using the knowledge of what participant’s value. Methods included staff, patient and family member interviews (10), appreciative observation (200 hours), documentary analysis and discussion groups. The data was analysed collaboratively with participants via discussion of the emergent findings.

The presentation will have three parts, discussing: 1.The value of appreciative observation of delirium care in a busy acute older adult ward to uncover and highlight good care. 2. The benefit of participants collaboratively exploring what supports good delirium care. 3. Emergent findings from the study.

The paper will contribute to the knowledge base of what supports the experience of relationship centred care during an episode of delirium.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016
EventBritish Society of Gerentology - Stirling University, Stirling, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20168 Jul 2016


ConferenceBritish Society of Gerentology
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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