Using Simulated Family Presence to Decrease Agitation in Hospitalized Delirious Patients

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Chairperson

Kerry Milner, DNSc

Committee Member

Susan DeNisco, DNP

Committee Member

Sheila Molony, Ph.D.


Purpose/Objectives: To examine the effect of family video messages on the agitation level of hospitalized, delirious, acutely agitated patients. To describe the patient and family responses to videos. Design Randomized control trial, three-group repeated measures. Method: Eligible patients and their family members were randomly assigned to the intervention (family video), attention control (nature video) or placebo group (usual care). The principal investigator (PI) made videos of family members of patients in the family video group and used a commercial nature video. The PI was notified when the patient was agitated at which time the PI inconspicuously videotaped the patient for a minute prior to initiating the intervention (family video, nature video or usual care) and for one minute during, immediately following, and 30 minutes after the intervention. An outcome assessor blinded to group assignment watched each patient's four recordings that were presented in random order and scored the patient's behavior using the Agitated Behavioral Scale (ABS). The PI observed the patient and family response to the video and documented these responses in a ledger. A research assistant watched the family videos and assigned the content as positive, neutral or negative.


A practice dissertation presented to the faculty of the College of Nursing, Sacred Heart University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice.