Sarah Clare Hunter1, Jo Nolan2, Tiffany Conroy1, Rebecca Feo1, Alison Kitson1, Alison Mudge3, Prue McRae3 and Samantha Kruger4

1Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University, 2Physiotherapy Dept, Flinders Medical Centre, SALHN, SA Health, 3Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, 4Flinders Medical Centre, SALHN, SA Health


Delirium is a serious condition, and common hospital complication, which increases risk of falls, mortality and future dementia. Further, delirium increases length of stay and requirement for higher level accommodation on discharge, with consequent impacts on hospital flow. Delirium is also distressing to patients, families and staff. Within SALHN, delirium is the third highest hospital acquired complication (HAC). This project aims to impact on the prevention and management of delirium by translating existing evidence into practice at Flinders Medical Centre. Specifically, we are introducing the evidence-based Eat Walk Engage model of care, to reduce delirium and enhance functional recovery in older inpatients. The Eat Walk Engage model is an innovative model of care that involves implementing a ‘package’ of evidence-based clinical intervention activities, tailored to patient needs and local ward resources, and works with key stakeholders throughout the process to improve nutrition and hydration, mobility and cognitive stimulation for older adults. Eat Walk Engage uses the integrated Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (i-PARIHS) framework as a structured, evidence-based method of implementing complex change. Eat Walk Engage implementation outcomes (acceptability and appropriateness, adoption and fidelity and normalization), clinical outcomes (acute length of stay, delirium related readmissions) and adherence to delirium clinical care standards will be measured. This project will impact on understandings of the mechanisms required to effectively implement the Eat Walk Engage program, to ensure its successful adaptation and long-term sustainability in new contexts. These results will assist both the hospital and the wider health system in their objectives to improve the care of older adults.

Sarah Hunter

Sarah Hunter is a post-doctoral research fellow in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Caring Futures Institute, Flinders University. Sarah’s background is in Psychology and her research pertains to Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science. She focuses on the various ways in which we can take research findings and successfully implement them into clinical practice. She is passionate about working alongside clinicians and teams to tailor high quality evidence to suit their practice needs. Sarah currently works across a variety of projects within SALHN, SA Health focusing on implementing evidence to address hospital acquired complications.

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