A client who has had a full-thickness burn is being discharged from the hospital. Which information is most important for the nurse to provide prior to discharge?
Critical for the goal of progression toward independence for the client is teaching clients and family members to perform care tasks such as dressing changes. All the other distractors are important in the rehabilitation stage. However, dressing changes have priority.
The client has experienced an electrical injury of the lower extremities. Which are the priority assessment data to obtain from this client?
The airway is not at any particular risk with this injury. Therefore, respiratory rate and pulse oximetry are not priority assessments. Electric current travels through the body from the entrance site to the exit site and can seriously damage all tissues between the two sites. Early cardiac damage from electrical injury includes irregular heart rate, rhythm, and ECG changes. Range of motion and neurologic assessments are important. However, the priority is to make sure that the heart rate and rhythm are adequate to support perfusion to the brain and other vital organs.
The client has a large burned area on the right arm. The burned area appears pink, has blisters, and is very painful. How will the nurse categorize this injury?
The characteristics of the wound meet the criteria for a superficial partial-thickness injury: color that is pink or red; blisters and pain present. Blisters are not seen with full-thickness and superficial burns, and are rarely seen with deep partial-thickness burns. Deep partial-thickness burns are red to white in color.
The client has burns on both legs. These areas appear white and leather-like. No blisters or bleeding are present, and there is just a “small amount of pain.” How will the nurse categorize this injury?
The characteristics of the wounds meet the criteria for a full-thickness injury: color that is black, brown, yellow, white, or red; no blisters; pain minimal; outer layer firm and inelastiC. Partial-thickness superficial burns appear pink to red in color, with pain. Partial-thickness burn color is deep red to white in color with pain, and superficial burn color is pink to red, with pain.
On assessment, the nurse notes that the client has burns inside the mouth and is wheezing. Several hours later, the wheezing is no longer heard. What is the nurse’s next action?
Clients with severe inhalation injuries may sustain such progressive obstruction that they may lose effective movement of air. When this occurs, wheezing is no longer heard and neither are breath sounds. The client requires the establishment of an emergency airway. The swelling usually precludes intubation.
A client who was burned has crackles and a respiratory rate of 40/min and is coughing up blood-tinged sputum. What action will the nurse take first?
Pulmonary edema can result from fluid resuscitation given for burn treatment. This can occur even in a young healthy person. Placing the client in the upright position can relieve the lung congestion immediately before other measures can be carried out. Digoxin may be given later to increase cardiac contractility to prevent backup of fluid into the lungs. Chest physiotherapy will not get rid of fluid. Monitoring urine output is important. However, it is not an immediate intervention.
A client who is admitted after a thermal burn injury has the following vital signs: blood pressure, 70/40; heart rate, 140 beats/min; respiratory rate, 25/min. He is pale in color and it is difficult to find pedal pulses. Which action will the nurse take first?
Hypovolemic shock is a common cause of death in the emergent phase of clients with serious injuries. Fluids can treat this problem. An ECG and CBC will be taken to ascertain if a cardiac or bleeding problem is causing these vital signs. However, these are not actions that the nurse would take immediately. Checking pulses would indicate perfusion to the periphery but this is not an immediate nursing action.
How will the nurse position a client with a burn wound to the posterior neck to prevent contractures?
The function that would be disrupted by a contracture to the posterior neck is flexion. Moving the head from side to side prevents such a loss of flexion. The other distractors listed do not call for moving of the head from side to side. This movement is what would prevent contractures from occurring.
The client has severe burns around the right hip. Which position is most important to use to maintain maximum function of this joint?
Maximum function for ambulation occurs when the hip and leg are maintained at full extension with neutral rotation. Although the client does not have to spend 24 hours in this position, he or she should be in this position (in bed or standing) longer than with the hip in any degree of flexion.
Ten hours after the client with 50% burns is admitted, her blood glucose level is 140 mg/dL. What is the nurse’s best action?
Neural and hormonal compensation to the stress of the burn injury in the emergent phase increase liver glucose production and release. An acute rise in the blood glucose level is an expected client response and is helpful in the generation of energy needed for the increased metabolism that accompanies this traumA. A family history of diabetes could make her more of a risk for the disease, but this is not a priority at this time. The glucose level is not high enough to warrant retesting. The cause of her elevated blood glucose is not the IV fluid.
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