Question about positioning (probably a dumb question)

  1. 0
    When you're talking about positioning, what is the difference between the terms "dependent" and "nondependent"?

    Probably a dumb question, I know...

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  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 1
    dependent refers to a means of support, i.e., floor, back of chair, armrest.

    nondependent would then mean, self-supporting.

    and, no such thing as a dumb question.

    leslie
    Jedi of Zen likes this.
  4. 1
    Quote from earle58
    dependent refers to a means of support, i.e., floor, back of chair, armrest.

    nondependent would then mean, self-supporting.

    and, no such thing as a dumb question.

    leslie



    This is a quote from my textbook (and this is from a paragraph about avoiding strain on the venous system):

    Instruct the patient to sit down and elevate the extremity to a nondepedent position whenever possible.
    So does that mean that the patient should raise his extremity and keep it in the air with self-effort?

    Not trying to belabor the point. I just want to be clear. Thanks
    mstone88 likes this.
  5. 2
    If I understand it correctly, dependent is lower. Have you ever seen dependent edema? It shows up in the legs, the scrotum, the forearms if the arms aren't elevated etc. I had a patient who had really severe dependent edema - his hands were so swollen, we put them on pillows, and within about an hour (if that) his elbows were swollen and his hands were much less so, but looked wrinkled and saggy because of the strain on the skin. The fluid went to whatever was the lowest point in his body.

    So your textbook means to raise the foot higher than, say, the knee or hip.
    beth66335 and Jedi of Zen like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from future L&Dnurse
    If I understand it correctly, dependent is lower. Have you ever seen dependent edema? It shows up in the legs, the scrotum, the forearms if the arms aren't elevated etc. I had a patient who had really severe dependent edema - his hands were so swollen, we put them on pillows, and within about an hour (if that) his elbows were swollen and his hands were much less so, but looked wrinkled and saggy because of the strain on the skin. The fluid went to whatever was the lowest point in his body.

    So your textbook means to raise the foot higher than, say, the knee or hip.

    Okay.

    I did find something in Taber's about the "gravity-dependent position". My understanding is that that refers to positioning something (ie, an extremity) below the level of the heart. ie, so that blood flow to that extremity depends on gravity to get there.

    So I'm assuming then that "nondependent" positioning means to position an extremity above the level of the heart.

    What do you guys think? (Amazing how hard it is to clarify something in a book that seems like it should be so simple! :yldhdbng: )
    Angie O'Plasty, RN likes this.
  7. 0
    Just means to elevate it. Dependent edema goes to the lowest parts of your body when you are standing or sitting. A body part is nondependent when it is higher than it usually is, like up on pillows or in traction. Your feet are in the nondependent position when you sit up with them on a foot stool, but they probably aren't higher than your heart.
    Last edit by beth66335 on Feb 29, '08
  8. 0
    One Rule is never read more into the question than it ask.....
    dependent........to have someone or something do it for you.
    non-dependent......the ability to do it yourself.
  9. 0
    if a pt. will not raise his legs up in his w/c or in his bed, he has dependent edema (legs hanging down) if his legs swell up, even after they are elevated, it is non-dependent edema. (not related to his legs hanging down) this is sometimes related to his compliance. LOL.
  10. 0
    haha. This made me laugh out loud. Not because it's a dumb question. (I got to this page from googling "dependent position") but because I would have totally read that excerpt from your textbook with the same odd mental picture in my mind.
  11. 1
    "dependent" in terms of positioning means hanging down, below the mean level of the body, therefore not emptying the veins passively. when you stand with your hands at your sides your hands are dependent. when you raise your arms above your head, they are not dependent. from ""pendere," latin, to hang. if you remember this, you'll remember why there is such a thing as dependent edema, why your little old ladies' ankles swell up at the end of the day.

    while the word "independent" derives from the same root, it has nothing to do with this question..
    itsdebraanne likes this.


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