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Keywords:

  • Recruitment strategies;
  • skilled nursing facilities;
  • dementia

Abstract

Purpose

To describe strategies, culled from experience, for responding to several recruitment challenges in an ongoing randomized clinical trial of delirium in persons with dementia.

Organizing Construct

Delirium in people with dementia is common across all cultures. Little research supports the use of specific interventions for delirium. Recruitment of an adequate sample is critical to the validity of findings from intervention studies that form the foundation for evidence-based practice.

Methods

The trial referenced in this article tests the efficacy of cognitive stimulation for resolving delirium in people with dementia. Participants are recruited at the time of admission to one of eight community-based skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Eligible participants are 65 years of age or older and community dwelling, and have a diagnosis of dementia and delirium. Recruitment challenges and strategies were identified during weekly team meetings over a 2-year period.

Findings

Recruitment challenges include factors in the external and internal environment and the participants and their families. Strategies that address these challenges include early site evaluation and strong communication approaches with staff, participants, and families.

Conclusions

The recruitment of an adequate sample of acutely ill older adults with dementia in SNFs can pose a challenge to investigators and threaten the validity of findings. Recruitment strategies that help improve the validity of future studies are described.

Clinical Relevance

Worldwide, over 100 million people will have dementia by 2050, placing them at increased risk for delirium. Recruitment strategies that improve the quality of nursing research and, by extension, the care and prevention of delirium in older adults with dementia during rehabilitation in SNFs are greatly needed.