SourceInternational Journal of Older People Nursing, 6, 2, (2011), pp. 102-9
Article / Letter to editor
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International Journal of Older People Nursing
SubjectNCEBP 6: Quality of nursing and allied health care ONCOL 4: Quality of Care
AIM: To obtain knowledge and insight into how older people nurses observe the cognitive function of their patients. BACKGROUND: In cases of cognitive decline not due to delirium, the daily observation of cognitive function by nurses has not been standardised in hospital wards specialised in the care of older people. DESIGN: A qualitative study with purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews. Methods. Data were obtained by interviewing 10 Dutch nursing experts in the field of cognitive function in older patients. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by two independent researchers. RESULTS: All the respondents stated that daily observation of cognitive function yields valuable information. The concept of cognitive function was operationalised differently by institute and by nurse. Observation and reporting methods varied, as did the goals set by the nurses. Nurses reported using many days of observation to reach final judgements. CONCLUSIONS: Observations of cognitive functioning should include several cognitive domains, be restricted to a few days of observation and aim to both contribute to medical diagnoses and guide nursing interventions. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Until a valid instrument becomes available, nursing staff must standardise daily observations themselves. This paper describes input to achieve this.
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- Faculty of Medical Sciences 
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