Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Primary Major


Primary Minor

Cognitive and Experimental Sciences

Thesis Advisor

Patricia Harris, PhD, RN


Background: Postoperative delirium is an iatrogenic disease that largely affects older surgical patients. Current treatment relies mostly on pharmacological management. However, this poses a problem due to the age-related changes in elders on drug metabolism. Other comorbidities increase chances of onset of postoperative delirium, and the possibility of unresolved cases. This leads to prolonged hospital stays, decreased quality of life, and overall poorer outcomes in these individuals.

Objective: The purpose of this literature review and proposal is to examine the use of non-pharmacological therapy as an adjunct treatment to improve outcomes in elderly patients diagnosed with postoperative delirium. Non-pharmacological interventions observed are focused on stress management and activities of daily living (ADL) training. The literature review summarizes eight studies and are organized based on outcomes, pharmacological, and nonpharmacological treatments.

Method: This paper proposes a controlled, randomized experimental trial that divides participants into a control group, meditation group, and ADL group. It will then compare initial and post-test scores of the initial, three-month, and six-month test scores with an ANOVA test. The tests that are going to be used for this proposal are the Confusion Assessment Method-Severity (CAM-S) (as cited in Seiber et al, 2019) and the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) (as cited in Seiber et al, 2019). Scores will be broken down for individuals as well as groups. Group scores will then be compared to one another. Ethical considerations are concerned with informed consent in confused individuals and travel detriments imposed by this proposal.