How do occupational therapists understand and respond to delirium in acute stroke? A grounded theory exploration
Van Wijck, F.
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Carin-Levy, G., Nicol, K., McVittie, C., Van Wijck, F. & Mead, G. (2018) How do occupational therapists understand and respond to delirium in acute stroke? A grounded theory exploration [Abstract]. In: RCOT 2018 Annual Conference and Exhibition 11 – 13 June 2018 Book of Abstracts. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81(8 suppl. 1), p. 21.
Purpose and aims: Delirium is a serious complication following a stroke, often leading to severe adverse effects (Carin-Levy et al. 2012). Identifying delirium following a stroke can be challenging due to the complexity of cognitive screening in this population (Lees et al. 2013). This study explored how occupational therapists (OTs) understand delirium and what actions are taken when working with a patient exhibiting delirium symptoms. Design: Abbreviated grounded theory. Methods: Two online focus groups utilising case vignettes conducted with occupational therapists working in acute stroke units across Scotland. Analytical steps consistent with grounded theory methodology led to the emergence of themes. Results: Five participants were recruited. None of the participants received delirium training, and none confidently discussed delirium symptoms, frequently referring to the term ‘confusion’. Participants suggested using generic cognitive assessments rather than delirium-specific tools. Despite this, the key principles of the initial management of delirium were discussed confidently and participants demonstrated the values of person centredness, effective team work and a real care for the welfare of the persons with whom they are working. Conclusion: Occupational therapists can struggle to identify delirium in acute stroke; however, the key principles of delirium management were confidently discussed and an ethos of person centredness was demonstrated. Occupational therapists are experts in cognitive assessment of stroke patients (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network 2010), therefore, training in delirium identification should be targeted at this professional group in order to be able to comply with best practice guidelines on delirium management (Healthcare Improvement Scotland 2014).