Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment and Care, Second Edition

Type of Guideline: 
Publication date: 
About this Guideline:

This nursing Best Practice Guideline (BPG) is intended to replace the RNAO (2010) BPGs Screening for Delirium, Dementia and Depression in Older Adults and Caregiving Strategies for Older Adults with Delirium, Dementia and Depression. It is to be used by nurses and other members of the interprofessional health-care team to enhance the quality of their practice pertaining to delirium, dementia, and depression in older adults, ultimately optimizing clinical outcomes through the use of evidence-based practices.

The guideline focuses on:

  • Practice recommendations: directed primarily toward nurses who provide direct clinical care to older adults across the spectrum of care, including (but not limited to): primary care, acute care, home-care settings, alternative level of care/complex continuing care, and long-term care. The secondary audience of the practice recommendations includes other members of the interprofessional team who collaborate with nurses to provide comprehensive care. All of the recommendations are applicable to the scope of practice of registered nurses and nurse practitioners (general and extended class); however, many are also applicable to other members of the interprofessional team.
  • Education recommendations: directed at those who are responsible for the education of health-care providers, such as educators, quality improvement teams, managers, administrators, and academic and professional institutions. These recommendations outline core content and training strategies required for entry-level health-care programs, ongoing education, and professional development. The primary focus is nurses, and the secondary focus is interprofessional team members.
  • Organization and policy recommendations: apply to managers, administrators, and policy-makers who are responsible for developing policy or securing the supports required within health-care organizations that enable the implementation of best practices.

For optimal effectiveness, recommendations in these three areas should be implemented together.

Long-Term Care Case Study and Discussion Guide

The case study and its accompanying discussion guide were developed for educational purposes in long-term care homes to promote use of the RNAO Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment and Care, Second Edition BPG. This resource provides the necessary instructions to hold a facilitated discussion with long-term care staff. 

Overall goals of the case study and discussion guide are to:

  • Actively engage participants in discussions about delirium, dementia, and depression
  • Help long-term care staff identify the differences between delirium, dementia, and depression
  • Help long-term care staff become familiar with key resources they can use at the point-of-care to support identification of delirium, dementia, and depression
  • Reinforce best practices for the care of delirium, dementia, depression in older adults

Download case study

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