Er triage assessment

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    When doing an objective assessment is it appropriate to use lethargic to describe a patient?
    Last edit by Esme12 on Dec 14, '12
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Using the word lethargic is more of a diagnostic term. In triage, you should say "pt appears weak" or "pt/family reports weakness."
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    I actively avoid the term "lethargic." First, it apparently has serious connotations to MDs and second because it doesn't tell me anything in particular. I chart...pt responds slowly to questions, appears to fall asleep during triage process, needs to be asked question over and over in order to participate in triage process, responds to sternal rub only, etc. Give the pt a GCS score at the end of triage note for better assessment
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    Agree with vic, our docs don't like the term lethargic. Families use it often and it doesn't provide much info.
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    I would avoid its use as well. It's too subjective and open to interpretation. One person's "lethargic" might be another person at baseline. Instead, I would describe specific behaviors, such as whether their eyes are open, whether they respond to voice, whether they follow commands, whether they answer questions appropriately, etc.
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    Quote from karbearfly
    When doing an objective assessment is it appropriate to use lethargic to describe a patient?
    Thanks for everyone's response kindly appreciate it.


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