Initial Nursing Care for Medical Complication
Initial nursing care for any medical complication is usually to check for any disease symptoms. The priority of nursing care would be to conduct a vital sign observation and a neuro-observation. A nurse would be checking for the effectiveness of treatment offered to Mr. Johnson and any side effects that he would be expressing. the normalcy of breathing, responses to sensory stimulus, and alertness of the patient. A positive response indicates that the patient is conscious and capable of undergoing additional tests. Failure to respond positively to sensory stimulants or the presence of struggles to breathe or move indicates complications that need further attention (Tixier, et al., 2010). Nurses have to document all their observations to assist in subsequent diagnosis and treatment.
The nurse has to maintain the fluid balance chart. Dressings should remain in situ. However, any presence of excessive leakage at the site would necessitate a change of the dressing or its modification. The balance chart for fluids indicates any mismatch of the epidural infusion that infections would cause. Sometimes the fluids given to the patient might be more than the actual patient losses. The documentation of the fluid balance assists in ensuring that excess replacement does not happen. The fluids balance chart would also indicate an abnormality in the rate of flow in the infusion line.
The third priority for the nurse would be to check for any nausea and vomiting. This check should be done hourly for the first twelve hours, and scores recorded on the general observation chart. Nausea and vomiting are indications of a complication caused by the epidural infusion procedure. They are symptoms of a dural puncture or any other side effect that causes a malfunction in the autonomic nervous systems functions (Baysinger et al., 2011). Vomiting and nausea are also indications that the patient is having hypotension. This would be caused by cardiac arrhythmias, hypervolemia, or a too rapid infusion.
Fourth, the nurse will look for any signs of analgesia toxicity. This is a complication resulting from intrapleural analgesia. The nurse checks the records at the beginning of his or her shift and will then document any medical record thereafter. To determine the presence of toxicity, the nurse would check the insertion site for any redness swelling, or pain. The mark on the patients skin has to match the insertion details as documented. The dressing should be intact, and any abnormality would indicate potential aesthetic toxicity. Toxicity would arise from an effective dispersion of the infuscate at the insertion point. The hourly doses in the first eight hours may also result in toxicity. Early detection of toxicity allows physicians to change the epidural infusion regime or stop it in favor of another method of analgesia.
The nurse has to check the pain levels and sedation score of the patient as the fifth nursing care priority. Epidural drugs help the patient to experience less pain. However, the patient may still experience breakthrough pain despite the epidural infusion. The hourly rate of continuous infusion may lead to poor dispersion of the infuscate in the patient, leading to persistent pain. The nurse has to compare current pain levels with the documented pain levels.
If there is no change, or there is an increase in the pain levels, then the patient would need supplementary analgesia (Lim et al., 2010). Meanwhile, the sedation score indicates how low the patients irritation and agitation have reduced because of the epidural infusion. Any subsequent medical operation on the patient has to happen when the patient is fully sedated. Sedation scores offer a benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of the to the brain and spine (Bird & Wallis, 2002). Sedation scores are important in reviewing patient injury that may arise due to the method used. In case of any ascending block or motor block, the will identify it.
The sixth care for the nurse would be to check the patients dermatome level. This routine assists in determining the depth of the sensory block and ensuring that there is a proper cover of the surgical site (Mulcahey, Gaughan, & Betz, 2009). There should be a sterile, transparent, semi-occlusive dressing over the site (Murdoch, 2005). Dermatome levels relate to the existence of a spine or viral infection. Thus, the nurse should look for indications of pain or rash in the dermatomes to check for any unwanted effects of .