How to count respiration?

  1. I know what's respiration mean that's for every breath in and breath out it's consider as 1 respiration. But usually I have a hard time to keep track of counting it because it's kinda hard by just looking at their chest raise and fall...b/c sometimes I really didn't see that their chest raise and fall for few sec b/c the breathing is not that deep...then the breathing went back to it normal stage again (this time I can see it).

    My question is: When we count respiration, are we allow to put our hand on the person stomach or somewhere so that we can keep track of their breathing so it would be more easier to count the respiration? Please, let me know if this is allow to do or not.

    B/c I asked my instructor that can I put my hand on the pt chest when counting respiration and she said no b/c by doing that it would make the pt feel uncomfortable. Last time when I asked my instructor this question I forgot to tell her that I mean can I put my hand below their clavicle (anatomy term) to feel their breathing...not on their chest b/c I know that would make people uncomfortable especially female...
    Last edit by tavia_yeung on Sep 5, '09
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    About tavia_yeung

    Joined: Jul '09; Posts: 191; Likes: 14
    CNA; from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in LTC


  3. by   Zebolt
    What you can do is, take the pulse first (or pretend to if you already have it) by having the patient place their right hand flat on their chest at heart level and then taking the radial pulse from that hand. Once you're done taking the pulse, leave your hand in place and count the resps. Your hand, and hers, will likely move slightly as she breaths, making it easier to count. Plus you're not making it obvious to her that you're observing her breathing, as that can make the patient self-conscious and affect the result.

    If the patient is combative then it's obviously more difficult.
  4. by   MsAsia322
    i think it just comes along with practice. only one time have i asked if i can place my hand across a patient's chest and she was fine with it. it didnt seem to affect the resps but i probly wouldnt do it again.
    zebolt - what u said was a good idea and i'd try that as well! thanks -
  5. by   chickapea
    I do the same with the patients hand on their chest and then take the pulse. I can feel both theirs and my hand rise and fall. Sometimes the call light will be set just below their chest on the blanket and I can easily watch that rise and fall as well. Sometimes you have someone with irregular and shallow respirations that are very hard to count. That's a good time to alert the nurse from my experience.
  6. by   tavia_yeung
    Thank you all for your great tip, I'll use the hand over their chest technique next time I take the pulse & do respiration.