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Spaulding Leads In Delirium Education To Reduce Patient Re-Hospitalizations

March 8,  2011

Delirium is a common and serious problem for nearly half of all hospitalized older patients and is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, patient/family distress, and unnecessary costs. The suffering and expense resulting from delirium is avoidable however, as delirium is often completely reversible.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Nursing Division is taking the lead in developing a program to recognize and reverse delirium in our vulnerable patient populations. Deborah Rosenbloom-Brunton, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, Assistant Professor and coordinator of the Acute Care Specialty at MGH Institute of Health Professions has received a fellowship from the John A Hartford Foundation to implement a program at Spaulding West Roxbury and Spaulding North Shore. This collaboration will be led by Dr Rosenbloom-Brunton and Ann Marie LaRocca, MSN, RN, CRRN, Associate Chief Nurse, Spaulding Rehabilitation. The project will begin in January 2011 and will prepare nurses to train family caregivers to recognize and report the early stages of delirium in their loved ones.

We are looking forward to starting this research, but because of the detrimental impact of delirium on patient care, we expanded our scope and conducted network wide education aimed at recognizing delirium with nurses and nursing assistants at all Spaulding Rehabilitation facilities in September and October 2010. The classes were taught by nurse champions from the Hartford grant project: Gail Deneault and Jessica Reilly of the Spaulding West Roxbury and Laurie Flynn, Kathy Harlov, Nancy Defrietas from Spaulding North Shore.

For more information on the delirium education project, please contact Ann Marie LaRocca at 617-573-2024 or