Effect of Family–Patient Communication on the Incidence of Delirium in Hospitalized Patients in Cardiovascular Surgery ICU

Maryam Eghbali‑Babadi, Nasrin Shokrollahi, Tayebe Mehrabi


Background: Cardiovascular diseases are the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, and cardiac surgery is one of the treatments that have complication for patients. One of the most important current psychological complications after cardiac surgery is delirium. For its prevention and treatment, considerable attention should be paid to the role of family. This study has been conducted for assessing the effect of the relationship between the family and patient on the incidence of delirium in hospitalized patients in cardiovascular surgery intensive care unit (ICU) of Isfahan Shahid Chamran hospital. Materials and Methods: This study is a two‑group, single‑blind (for the questioner) clinical trial that was conducted among 68 patients in the cardiac surgery ICU of Shahid Chamran hospital affiliated to the Isfahan University of Medical Science in 2013. Sampling was
convenient sampling, and the patients were allocated to two groups (n = 34 patients) based on random numbers table. The day after the surgery, one of the family members in the intervention group who had received education the day before was allowed to visit the patient in the morning shift. In the control group, patients received routine care. Two groups were assessed for delirium twice a day for a total of three times (two times in the morning and one time in the evening) with use of Richmond  Agitation Sedation Scale and Confusion Assessment Method –ICU (CAM – ICU) scale. Results: In the intervention group, 41.18% patients were females and 58.82% patients were males, and in the control group, 29.42% patients were females and 70.58% were males. Mean and SD of patients’ age in the intervention group was 55.11 (12.11) and in the control group 54.12 (13.11) years. Based on study results, incidence of delirium in the morning after surgery (second day) in intervention group was 11.76%, and in control group it was 23.53%. In the third day, it was 8.83% in intervention group and 20.58% in control group. Chi‑square test showed a significant difference in incidence of delirium during the second (P = 0.04) and the third (P = 0.03) days of surgery in the two groups. In the control group, the incidence of delirium in the evening was 32.35%, which was more than that in the morning. Cochran test showed a significant difference in the morning and afternoon shifts in the control group (P = 0.004). Conclusions: Effective communication between the patient and family, as a nonmedical method, can reduce delirium after cardiac surgery, especially, at the end of the day; nurses should pay more attention to the prevention of delirium.


Delirium; family; intensive care unit; nursing care; open cardiac surgery; therapeutic relationship

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