Dementia and Delirium Workshop at North York General Hospital

Submitted by: Maria Monteiro RN, MN Clinical Nurse Educator & Zahra Ismail RN, MN CPRS, ENC(C) Clinical Team Manager 8 West Inpatient Medicine & Respiratory Therapy Team, North York General Hospital

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Older adults with dementia face increased risk of delirium with the stress of illness and hospitalization. Delirium is considered a medical emergency and if not properly treated can lead to decline in cognitive and physical function, increased length of stay and readmissions, and mortality. At NYGH, Dementia and Delirium Workshop was developed for interprofessional teams to help educate and build knowledge, skill and confidence of how to appropriately manage patients with dementia and delirium (D&D) to improve quality of care and reduce medical complications.

The development involved empirical research, evidence-based interprofessional education and collaborating with experts in the field. The first workshop was held in February 2014 where 31 healthcare-professionals attended (nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, medicine/nursing students, social workers, dieticians). Focus was placed on addressing attitudes, knowledge and skills to care for patients with D&D; and, early assessment and recognition of symptoms in order to provide early management.

Attendees indicated they now have a better understanding of how to assess and manage care for patients with D&D on a busy acute medical unit. This included staff acquiring knowledge to institute interventions (gentle persuasive and Montessori Method approaches) to maintain safety, assist in the restoration of prior cognitive/physical function, deescalate challenging behaviors and the use of non-pharmacological interventions to manage D&D. In addition, formation of new relationships and improved staff satisfaction through enhanced communication and collaboration between interprofessional colleagues and ability to support caregivers was achieved.

This new skill and knowledge is being disseminated in the Emergency Department and within Medical Program at NYGH. The interprofessional D&D workshop has now catalyst the consideration of more interprofessional learning opportunities at NYGH.


This article was featured on the University of Toronto, Centre for Interprofessional Education, June 2014 newsletter.