Caring for unconscious patient.

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    Nursing involves caring people with different ailments,caring for unconscious patient is critical care nursing. It is very important for a nurse to have understanding and wide knowledge as to what is affected to such a patient,for instance this patient wouldnot be able to carryout some activities of living such as feeding.It is therefore important for a nurse to know how and what to feed this patient. If the nurse does not know how to feed this patient he may end up developing some complications such as aspiration pneumonia.Immobility is another problem it is important that a nurse performs passive range of motion to prevent development of contractures and also to promote circulation to all body parts. It is also paramount that a nurse understand how to position this patient,lateral position is the most prefered to make sure the airway is patent by allowing free drainage of secretions at the same there is need to monitor accumulation of secretions and suction if needed,blocked airway prevent gaseous exchange and may lead to lack of oxygen to tissues hence tissue death. It is also important to turn the patient every two hours to prevent development of pressure sores a nurse may also apply talcum powder on pressure areas to prevent the pressure sore development.

    It is also important to monitor hydration status by skin pinch or looking at mucous membranes for dryness and also monitor input and output.strictly monitor urine for amount,colour and consistency before disposing the urine as the patient may be catheterized.

    Personal cleansing and grooming needs should be met therefore a nurse need to provide bed bath atleast twice a day and dress the patient clean dry clothes,clean his teeth twice a day.

    Explaining patient condition to signifcant others is very important so as to dispel anxiety and make them understand the patient condition this also promote cooperation as you want to carry out some procedures.

    It is very important that every nurse working in areas needing critical care such as High Dependency Units has enough knowledge to assess and intervene appropriately he should also be able to communicate any change in patient's condition for multidisciplinary intervention.

    A nurse working in these areas should also be able to use equipment available for instance a problem of airway blockage due to secretions has been found and then this nurse does not know how to sunction,this may result in death of this patient because gaseous exchange is vital for matabolic processes of the body hence the need for skill in using different equipment available at that setting.

    Therefore High Dependency units or any unit for critically ill patient need enough staff to monitor the patient closely, it also needs proper supervision of a charge nurse to make sure patient gets quality care.

    Students either nursing or medical should be closely supervised before any decision is implemented to make sure only what is expected is done it is also important that few students are allocated at each unit to minimize errors.

    An unconscious patient fully depends on us for his recovery as such it is our responsibility to always think critically before intervining if you are not sure ask a colleague or consult. The more the knowledge we have the greater the difference we can make on our patients.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 30, '08
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  3. by   Absolutely13
    One addition would be mouth care every 2 hours.
  4. by   namzy
    Thank you very much for your additional information.
    God bless you.
  5. by   lzl_bluesport
    I'm learning...
  6. by   jittybug
    May one speak to an uncoscious patient , while one is attending to his or her necessary care or needs. Sounds ridiculous?? I think,that helps as well. COMMUNICATION- one way, or another helps an unconscious person, inspite, of being in a state of.............WHAT DO YOU THINK? It has something to do with one's INNER-SELF - somehow one's SUBCONSCIOUSLY !!! I welcome anybody to refute with that.
  7. by   namzy
    I thank you for your message,if I got you correctly I believe it is good to speak to an unconsious patient for the following reasons
    It act as an evaluatory intervention on patient condition i.e to find out
    deterioration or improvement.
    just to remind you,explain each and every procedure before carrying
    it out I therefore recommend speaking to this patient.Remember being unconscious does not mean the patient is dead or deaf.
  8. by   Absolutely13
    One can never assume, at least in my limited scope of practice, a person (patient, resident or client) cannot hear you. I always play it like they are listening, but can't answer.

    The level of consciencenous (sp?) is not my determination.