🚨 Nursing the Critical Patient 🚨
Nursing critical or intensive patients can be a daunting but very rewarding task. Personally it is something I really love, as it allows you to be 1-on-1 with a patient and really tune in to their specific needs. In this infographic we look at some of the areas we need to consider when nursing critical patients, including: 💫 Regular care of tubes, drains and lines: IV catheters should be flushed and re-bandaged regularly, and urinary catheters connected to a closed collection set, emptied regularly and the catheter and line, as well as the prepuce/vulva cleaned with diluted chlorhexidine.
💫 Nutritional considerations: nutrition is key in these patients to maintain protein levels, prevent cachexia and ensure we are meeting their often higher energy demands. In anorexic patients, enteral feeding support should be considered - this carries additional considerations regarding care, cleaning and dressing the feeding tube site.
💫 Provisions should be made for urination and defecation. In recumbent patients urinary catheterisation or enema administration may be indicated. With patients who have ongoing diarrhoea, a faecal catheter may be considered to prevent soiling and allow quantification of fluid losses through diarrhoea. Urine output should also be quantified to provide an assessment of renal function and perfusion status.
💫 Fluid balance should be closely monitored, to detect and correct any perfusion or hydration deficits. Appropriate fluid therapy should be administered and end-points of resuscitation monitored during correction of perfusion deficits; fluid ins and outs should be measured and compared to avoid volume overload.
💫 The patient's neurological status should be considered; tools such as the Modified Glasgow Coma Scale can be used to quantify mental status and assess for increases in intracranial pressure. If the patient is at risk of seizures, a seizure plan should be determined by the veterinary surgeon and this written on the patient's kennel, and the drugs readily available.
💫 The patient's vital parameters should be taken at appropriate intervals based on their clinical status.