Introduction: Delirium is a fluctuating cognitive disorder that occurs in admitted patients, especially in patients who are in intensive care units. Nurses due to persistent contact with patients and direct observation of their mental changes play an essential role in delirium evaluation. Early detection of delirium, identification of risk factors, and its prevention methods are critical to reducing complications, mortality, and treatment costs. This study aimed to determine the perception and the practices of nurses in intensive care units to assess delirium and its barriers. Study design: A cross-sectional study. Materials and methods: All nurses working in the intensive care unit (neurology, trauma, surgery, general, and heart) of educational hospitals in Kerman, Iran, were the study population. The data gathering tool was a questionnaire consisting of four sections: demographic information, nurses’ perception, practices, and perceived barriers in delirium assessment. Results: The total score of nurses’ perception in delirium assessment was 19.47 ± 3.36, which was higher than the medium score of the questionnaire (estimated score = 16). In all, 45.5% of nurses reported having delirium treatment protocol in their units, and 12.1% of the nurses considered delirium as a priority of evaluating the patient's condition. The most important barrier to delirium assessment was the difficulty of assessing delirium in intubated patients. There was no association between nurses’ perception and practices (p value > 0.05). Conclusion: Designing and implementing educational programs for improving nurses’ practices in this field is necessary. Clinical significance: Healthcare providers, especially nurses, should be aware of the delirium assessment of the ICU patients to provide better care.
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