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"I will try to lie down someplace dark and quiet when the headaches begin."

rational: It is recommended that the patient with a migraine rest in a dark, quiet area. Topiramate (Topamax) is used to prevent migraines and must be taken for several months to determine effectiveness. Aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be taken with the triptans. Alcohol may precipitate migraine headaches.

After teaching a patient about management of migraine headaches, the nurse determines that the teaching has been effective when the patient says, _____________

unilateral eyelid swelling.

rational: Unilateral eye edema, tearing, and ptosis are characteristic of cluster headaches. Nuchal rigidity suggests meningeal irritation, such as occurs with meningitis. Although nausea and vomiting may occur with migraine headaches, projectile vomiting is more consistent with increases in intracranial pressure (ICP). Unilateral sharp, stabbing pain, rather than throbbing pain, is characteristic of cluster headaches.

When a patient is experiencing a cluster headache, the nurse will plan to assess for _______________

Time and observe and record the details of the seizure and postictal state.

rational: Because diagnosis and treatment of seizures frequently are based on the description of the seizure, recording the length and details of the seizure is important. Insertion of an oral airway and restraining the patient during the seizure are contraindicated. The nurse may need to move the patient to decrease the risk of injury during the seizure.

A patient has a tonic-clonic seizure while the nurse is in the patient's room. Which action should the nurse take?

"Most patients with epilepsy are well controlled with antiseizure medications."

rational: The nurse should inform the patient that most patients with seizure disorders are controlled with medication. The other information may be necessary if the patient seizures persist after treatment with antiseizure medications is implemented.

An elementary teacher who has just been diagnosed with epilepsy after having a generalized tonic-clonic seizure tells the nurse, "I cannot teach anymore, it will be too upsetting if I have a seizure at work." Which response by the nurse is best?

Inspect the oral mucosa.

rational: Phenytoin can cause gingival hyperplasia, but does not affect bowel tones, lung sounds, or pupil reaction to light.

Which action will the nurse take when evaluating a patient who is taking phenytoin (Dilantin) for adverse effects of the medication?

Atonic

rational: The initial symptoms of a partial seizure involve clinical manifestations that are localized to a particular part of the body or brain. Symptoms of an absence seizure are staring and a brief loss of consciousness. In an atonic seizure, the patient loses muscle tone and (typically) falls to the ground. Myoclonic seizures are characterized by a sudden jerk of the body or extremities.

A patient found in a tonic-clonic seizure reports afterward that the seizure was preceded by numbness and tingling of the arm. The nurse knows that this finding indicates what type of seizure?

inquire about any urinary tract problems.

rational: Urinary tract problems with incontinence or retention are common symptoms of MS. Chest pain and skin rashes are not symptoms of MS. A decrease in libido is common with MS.

When obtaining a health history and physical assessment for a patient with possible multiple sclerosis (MS), the nurse should _____________

"MS symptoms may be worse after the pregnancy."

rational: During the postpartum period, women with MS are at greater risk for exacerbation of symptoms. There is no increased risk for congenital defects in infants born of mothers with MS. Symptoms of MS may improve during pregnancy. Onset of labor is not affected by MS.

A 28-year-old woman who has multiple sclerosis (MS) asks the nurse about risks associated with pregnancy. Which response by the nurse is accurate?

How to draw up and administer injections of the medication

rational: Copaxone is administered by self-injection. Oral contraceptives are an appropriate choice for birth control. There is no need to avoid driving or drink large fluid volumes when taking glatiramer.

A patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) is to begin treatment with glatiramer acetate (Copaxone). Which information will the nurse include in patient teaching?

The patient has an increased creatinine level.

rational: Fampridine should not be given to patients with impaired renal function. The other information will not impact on whether the fampridine should be administered.

Which information about a patient with MS indicates that the nurse should consult with the health care provider before giving the prescribed dose of fampridine (Ampyra)?

Teach the patient how to use the Credé method.

rational: The Credé method can be used to improve bladder emptying. Decreasing fluid intake will not improve bladder emptying and may increase risk for urinary tract infection (UTI) and dehydration. The use of incontinence briefs and frequent toileting will not improve bladder emptying.

A patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) has urinary retention caused by a flaccid bladder. Which action will the nurse plan to take?

Suggest that the patient rock from side to side to initiate leg movement.

rational: Rocking the body from side to side stimulates balance and improves mobility. The patient will be encouraged to continue exercising because this will maintain functional abilities. Maintaining a wide base of support will help with balance. The patient should lift the feet and avoid a shuffling gait.

A patient with Parkinson's disease has a nursing diagnosis of impaired physical mobility related to bradykinesia. Which action will the nurse include in the plan of care?

The patient's blood pressure is 90/46 mm Hg.

rational: Hypotension is an adverse effect of bromocriptine, and the nurse should check with the health care provider before giving the medication. Diarrhea, cough, and deep vein thrombosis are not associated with bromocriptine use.

A patient has a new prescription for bromocriptine (Parlodel) to control symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Which information obtained by the nurse may indicate a need for a decrease in the dose?

perform physically demanding activities in the morning.

rational: Muscles are generally strongest in the morning, and activities involving muscle activity should be scheduled then. Plasmapheresis is not routinely scheduled but is used for myasthenia crisis or for situations in which corticosteroid therapy should be discontinued. There is no decrease in sensation with MG, and muscle atrophy does not occur because muscles are used during part of the day.

When teaching a patient with myasthenia gravis (MG) about management of the disease, the nurse advises the patient to ______________

diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

rational: Antihistamines can aggravate restless legs syndrome. The other medications will not contribute to the restless legs syndrome.

A patient who is seen in the outpatient clinic complains of restless legs syndrome. Which of the following over-the-counter medications that the patient is taking routinely should the nurse discuss with the patient?

Assist with active range of motion.

rational: ALS causes progressive muscle weakness, but assisting the patient to perform active ROM will help to maintain strength as long as possible. Psychotic symptoms such as agitation and paranoia are not associated with ALS. Cognitive function is not affected by ALS, and the patient's ability to understand procedures will not be impaired. Muscle relaxants will further increase muscle weakness and depress respirations.

A patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is hospitalized with pneumonia. Which nursing action will be included in the plan of care?

availability of genetic testing to determine the HD risk for the patient's children.

rational: Genetic testing is available to determine whether an asymptomatic individual has the HD gene. The patient and family should be informed of the benefits and problems associated with genetic testing. Sinemet will increase symptoms of HD given that HD involves an increase in dopamine. Antibiotic therapy will not reduce the risk for aspiration. There are no effective treatments or lifestyle changes that delay the progression of symptoms in HD.

A 42-year-old patient who was adopted at birth is diagnosed with early Huntington's disease (HD). When teaching the patient, spouse, and children about this disorder, the nurse will provide information about the ______________

antiparkinsonian drugs.

rational: The diagnosis of Parkinson's is made when two of the three characteristic signs of tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia are present. The confirmation of the diagnosis is made on the basis of improvement when antiparkinsonian drugs are administered. This patient has symptoms of tremor and bradykinesia; the next anticipated step will be treatment with medications. MRI and EEG are not useful in diagnosing Parkinson's disease, and corticosteroid therapy is not used to treat it.

A patient is seen in the health clinic with symptoms of a stooped posture, shuffling gait, and pill rolling-type tremor. The nurse will anticipate teaching the patient about _______________

Ask the patient to keep a headache diary.

rational: The initial nursing action should be further assessment of the precipitating causes of the headaches, quality, and location of pain, etc. Stress reduction, muscle relaxation, and the triptan drugs may be helpful, but more assessment is needed first.

A patient seen at the health clinic with a severe migraine headache tells the nurse about having four similar headaches in the last 3 months. Which initial action should the nurse take?

acetaminophen (Tylenol)

rational: The patient's symptoms are consistent with a tension headache, and initial therapy usually involves a nonopioid analgesic such as acetaminophen, sometimes combined with a sedative or muscle relaxant. Lorazepam may be used in conjunction with acetaminophen but would not be appropriate as the initial monotherapy. Morphine sulfate and butalbital and aspirin would be more appropriate for a headache that did not respond to a nonopioid analgesic.

A hospitalized patient complains of a moderate bilateral headache that radiates from the base of the skull. Which of these prescribed PRN medications should the nurse administer initially?

Discuss the need to stop taking the acetaminophen.

rational: The headache description suggests that the patient is experiencing medication overuse headache. The initial action will be withdrawal of the medication. The other actions may be needed if headaches persist.

A patient tells the nurse about using acetaminophen (Tylenol) several times every day for recurrent bilateral headaches. Which action will the nurse plan to take first?

The patient has a history of a recent acute myocardial infarction.

rational: The triptans cause coronary artery vasoconstriction and should be avoided in patients with coronary artery disease. The other information will be reported to the health care provider, but none of it is an indication that sumatriptan would be an inappropriate treatment.

The health care provider is considering the use of sumatriptan (Imitrex) for a patient with migraine headaches. Which information obtained by the nurse is most important to report to the health care provider?

assess the patient for a possible head injury.

rational: The patient who has had a myoclonic seizure and fall is at risk for head injury and should be evaluated and treated for this possible complication first. Documentation of the seizure, notification of the seizure, and administration of antiseizure medications also are appropriate actions, but the initial action should be assessment for injury.

The nurse witnesses a patient with a seizure disorder as the patient suddenly jerks the arms and legs, falls to the floor, and regains consciousness immediately. It will be most important for the nurse to
_________________

Administer lorazepam (Ativan) 4 mg IV.

rational: To prevent ongoing seizures, the nurse should administer rapidly acting antiseizure medications such as the benzodiazepines. A CT scan is appropriate, but prevention of any seizure activity during the CT scan is necessary. Phenytoin also will be administered, but it is not rapidly acting. Patients who are experiencing tonic-clonic seizures are nonresponsive, although the nurse should assess LOC after the seizure.

Which of these prescribed interventions will the nurse implement first for a hospitalized patient who is experiencing continuous tonic-clonic seizures?

Place medications in the home medication organizer.

rational: LPN/LVN education includes administration of medications. The other activities require RN education and scope of practice.

When the home health RN is planning care for a patient with a seizure disorder, which nursing action can be delegated to an LPN/LVN?

Uncontrolled head movement

rational: Dyskinesia is an adverse effect of the Sinemet, indicating a need for a change in medication or decrease in dose. The other findings are typical with Parkinson's disease.

Which information about a patient who is being treated with carbidopa/levodopa (Sinemet) for Parkinson's disease is most important for the nurse to report to the health care provider?

Imbalanced nutrition: less than body requirements

rational: The data about the patient indicate that poor nutrition will be a concern because of decreased swallowing. The other diagnoses also may be appropriate for a patient with Parkinson's disease, but the data do not indicate they are current problems for this patient.

A patient with Parkinson's disease has decreased tongue mobility and an inability to move the facial muscles. Which nursing diagnosis is of highest priority?

Observe respiratory effort.

rational: Because respiratory insufficiency may be life threatening, it will be most important to monitor respiratory function. The other data also will be assessed but are not as critical.

When the nurse is assessing a patient with myasthenia gravis, which action will be most important to take?

Notify the patient's health care provider.

rational: The patient's history and symptoms indicate a possible cholinergic crisis. The health care provider should be notified immediately, and it is likely that atropine will be prescribed. The other actions will be appropriate if the patient is not experiencing a cholinergic crisis.

Following a thymectomy, a patient with myasthenia gravis receives the usual dose of pyridostigmine (Mestinon). An hour later, the patient complains of nausea and severe abdominal cramps. Which action should the nurse take first?

Start the ordered PRN oxygen at 6 L/min.

rational: Acute treatment for cluster headache is administration of 100% oxygen at 6 to 8 L/min. If the patient obtains relief with the oxygen, there is no immediate need to notify the health care provider. Cluster headaches last only 60 to 90 minutes, so oral pain medications have minimal effect. Hot packs are helpful for tension headaches but are not as likely to reduce pain associated with a cluster headache.

A hospitalized 24-year-old patient with a history of cluster headache awakens during the night with a severe stabbing headache. Which action should the nurse take first?

-Siderail pads
-Oxygen mask
-Suction tubing

rational: The patient is at risk for further seizures, and oxygen and suctioning may be needed after any seizures to clear the airway and maximize oxygenation. The bed's side rails should be padded to minimize the risk for patient injury during a seizure. Insertion of a nasogastric (NG) tube is not indicated because the airway problem is not caused by vomiting or abdominal distention. Use of tongue blades during a seizure is contraindicated.

When preparing to admit a patient who has been treated for status epilepticus in the emergency department, which equipment should the nurse have available in the room:

-Use an elevated toilet seat
-Cut patient's food into small pieces
-Place an arm chair at the patient's bedside

rational: Since the patient with Parkinson's has difficulty chewing, food should be cut into small pieces. An armchair should be used when the patient is seated so that the patient can use the arms to assist with getting up from the chair. An elevated toilet seat will facilitate getting on and off the toilet. High protein foods will decrease the effectiveness of L-dopa. Parkinson's is a steadily progressive disease without acute exacerbations.

A patient with Parkinson's disease is admitted to the hospital for treatment of an acute infection. Which nursing interventions will be included in the plan of care:

"The monitoring system helps show whether blood flow to the brain is adequate."

rational: Short and simple explanations should be given to patients and family members. The other explanations are either too complicated to be easily understood or may increase the family member's anxiety.

When family members ask the nurse about the purpose of the ventriculostomy system being used for intracranial pressure monitoring for a patient, which response by the nurse is best?

Blood pressure 156/60, pulse 55, respirations 12

rational: Systolic hypertension with widening pulse pressure, bradycardia, and respiratory changes represent Cushing's triad and indicate that the intracranial pressure (ICP) has increased, and brain herniation may be imminent unless immediate action is taken to reduce ICP. The other vital signs may indicate the need for changes in treatment, but they are not indicative of an immediately life-threatening process.

A patient with a head injury has admission vital signs of blood pressure 128/68, pulse 110, and respirations 26. Which of these vital signs, if taken 1 hour after admission, will be of most concern to the nurse?

decorticate posturing.

rational: Internal rotation, adduction, and flexion of the arms in an unconscious patient is documented as decorticate posturing. Extension of the arms and legs is decerebrate posturing. Because the flexion is generalized, it does not indicate localization of pain or flexion withdrawal.

When the nurse applies a painful stimulus to the nail beds of an unconscious patient, the patient responds with internal rotation, adduction, and flexion of the arms. The nurse documents this as _____________

Intracranial pressure

rational: Mannitol is an osmotic diuretic and will reduce cerebral edema and intracranial pressure. It may initially reduce hematocrit and increase blood pressure, but these are not the best parameters for evaluation of the effectiveness of the drug. Oxygen saturation will not directly improve as a result of mannitol administration.

Which parameter is best for the nurse to monitor to determine whether the prescribed IV mannitol (Osmitrol) has been effective for an unconscious patient?

11

rational: The patient has a score of 3 for eye opening, 3 for best verbal response, and 5 for best motor response.

A patient with a head injury opens the eyes to verbal stimulation, curses when stimulated, and does not respond to a verbal command to move but attempts to remove a painful stimulus. The nurse records the patient's Glasgow Coma Scale score as _______

Allow the family to stay with the patient and briefly explain all procedures to them.

rational: The need for information about the diagnosis and care is very high in family members of acutely ill patients, and the nurse should allow the family to observe care and explain the procedures. A pastor or counseling service can offer some support, but research supports information as being more effective. Asking the family to stay in the waiting room will increase their anxiety.

Following a head injury, an unconscious 32-year-old patient is admitted to the emergency department (ED). The patient's spouse and children stay at the patient's side and constantly ask about the treatment being given. What action is best for the nurse to take?

Keep the head of the bed elevated to 30 degrees.

rational: The patient with increased intracranial pressure (ICP) should be maintained in the head-up position to help reduce ICP. Flexion of the hips and knees increases abdominal pressure, which increases ICP. Because the stimulation associated with nursing interventions increases ICP, clustering interventions will progressively elevate ICP. Coughing increases intrathoracic pressure and ICP.

An unconscious patient has a nursing diagnosis of ineffective cerebral tissue perfusion related to cerebral tissue swelling. Which nursing intervention will be included in the plan of care?

Check the nasal drainage for glucose.

rational: Clear nasal drainage in a patient with a head injury suggests a dural tear and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. If the drainage is CSF, it will test positive for glucose. Fluid leaking from the nose will have normal nasal flora, so culture and sensitivity will not be useful. Blowing the nose is avoided to prevent CSF leakage.

After noting that a patient with a head injury has clear nasal drainage, which action should the nurse take?

Provide discharge instructions about monitoring neurologic status.

rational: A patient with a minor head trauma is usually discharged with instructions about neurologic monitoring and the need to return if neurologic status deteriorates. MRI, hospital admission, or surgery are not indicated in a patient with a concussion.

A patient who has a head injury is diagnosed with a concussion. Which action will the nurse plan to take?

Prepare the patient for immediate craniotomy.

rational: The principal treatment for epidural hematoma is rapid surgery to remove the hematoma and prevent herniation. If intracranial pressure (ICP) is elevated after surgery, furosemide or high-dose barbiturate therapy may be needed, but these will not be of benefit unless the hematoma is removed. Minimal blood loss occurs with head injuries, and transfusion is usually not necessary.

A patient who is suspected of having an epidural hematoma is admitted to the emergency department. Which action will the nurse plan to take?

Insert nasogastric tube.

rational: Rhinorrhea may indicate a dural tear with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, and insertion of a nasogastric tube will increase the risk for infections such as meningitis. Turning the patient, elevating the head, and applying cold pack are appropriate orders.

While admitting a patient with a basal skull fracture, the nurse notes clear drainage from the patient's nose. Which of these admission orders should the nurse question?

Short-term memory

rational: Decreased short-term memory is one indication of postconcussion syndrome. The other data may be assessed but are not indications of postconcussion syndrome.

Which assessment information will the nurse collect to determine whether a patient is developing postconcussion syndrome?

judgment changes

rational: The frontal lobes control intellectual activities such as judgment. Speech is controlled in the parietal lobe. Weakness and hemiplegia occur on the contralateral side from the tumor. Swallowing is controlled by the brainstem.

When admitting a patient who has a tumor of the right frontal lobe, the nurse would expect to find __________

"I am going to drive home and go to bed."

rational: Following a head injury, the patient should avoid operating heavy machinery. Retrograde amnesia is common after a concussion. The patient can take acetaminophen for headache and should return if symptoms of increased intracranial pressure such as dizziness or nausea occur.

Which statement by a patient who is being discharged from the emergency department (ED) after a head injury indicates a need for intervention by the nurse?

perform range-of-motion (ROM) exercises every 4 hours.

rational: ROM exercises will help to prevent the complications of immobility. Patients with anterior craniotomies are positioned with the head elevated. The patient with a craniectomy should not be turned to the operative side. When the patient is weak, clustering nursing activities may lead to more fatigue and weakness.

After having a craniectomy and left anterior fossae incision, a patient has a nursing diagnosis of impaired physical mobility related to decreased level of consciousness and weakness. An appropriate nursing intervention is to
______________

Encourage family members to remain at the bedside.

rational: Patients with meningitis and disorientation will be calmed by the presence of someone familiar at the bedside. Restraints should be avoided because they increase agitation and anxiety. The patient requires frequent assessment for complications; the use of touch and a soothing voice will decrease anxiety for most patients. The patient will have photophobia, so the light should be dim.

A patient who has bacterial meningitis is disoriented and anxious. Which nursing action will be included in the plan of care?

Immunize adolescents and college freshman against Neisseria meningitides.

rational: The Neisseria meningitides vaccination is recommended for children ages 11 and 12, unvaccinated teens entering high school, and college freshmen. Hand washing may help decrease the spread of bacteria, but it is not as effective as immunization. Vaccination with Haemophilus influenzae is for infants and toddlers. Because adolescents and young adults are in school or the workplace, avoiding crowds is not realistic.

The community health nurse is developing a program to decrease the incidence of meningitis in adolescents and young adults. Which nursing action is most important?

The nursing assistant goes into the patient's room without a mask.

rational: Meningococcal meningitis is spread by respiratory secretions, so it is important to maintain respiratory isolation as well as standard precautions. Because the patient may be confused and weak, bedrails should be elevated at both the food and head of the bed. Low light levels in the room decrease pain caused by photophobia. Nutrition is an important aspect of care in a patient with meningitis.

While caring for a patient who has just been admitted with meningococcal meningitis, the RN observes all of the following. Which one requires action by the RN?

The patient's blood pressure is 86/42 mm Hg.

rational: Shock is a serious complication of meningitis, and the patient's low blood pressure indicates the need for interventions such as fluids or vasopressors. Nuchal rigidity and a positive Kernig's sign are expected with bacterial meningitis. The nurse should intervene to lower the temperature, but this is not as life threatening as the hypotension.

When assessing a patient with bacterial meningitis, the nurse obtains the following data. Which finding should be reported immediately to the health care provider?

Report the BP and ICP to the health care provider.

rational: The patient's cerebral perfusion pressure is 56 mm Hg, below the normal of 60 to 100 mm Hg and approaching the level of ischemia and neuronal death. Immediate changes in the patient's therapy such as fluid infusion or vasopressor administration are needed to improve the cerebral perfusion pressure. Adjustments in the head elevation should only be done after consulting with the health care provider. Continued monitoring and documentation also will be done, but they are not the first actions that the nurse should take.

A patient has a systemic BP of 108/51 mm Hg and an intracranial pressure (ICP) of 14 mm Hg. Which action should the nurse take first?

Assure that the patient's neck is not in a flexed position.

rational: Since suctioning will cause a transient increase in intracranial pressure, the nurse should initially check for other factors that might be contributing to the increase and observe the patient for a few minutes. Documentation is needed, but this is not the first action. There is no need to notify the health care provider about this expected reaction to suctioning. Propofol is used to control patient anxiety or agitation; there is no indication that anxiety has contributed to the increase in intracranial pressure.

After suctioning, the nurse notes that the intracranial pressure for a patient with a traumatic head injury has increased from 14 to 16 mm Hg. Which action should the nurse take first?

A 44-year-old receiving IV antibiotics for meningococcal meningitis

rational: An RN who works on a medical unit will be familiar with administration of IV antibiotics and with meningitis. The postcraniotomy patient, patient with an ICP monitor, and the patient on a ventilator should be assigned to an RN familiar with the care of critically ill patients.

Which of these patients is most appropriate for the intensive care unit (ICU) charge nurse to assign to an RN who has floated from the medical unit?

Administer 5% hypertonic saline intravenously.

rational: The patient's low sodium indicates that hyponatremia may be causing the cerebral edema, and the nurse's first action should be to correct the low sodium level. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) will have minimal effect on the headache because it is caused by cerebral edema and increased intra-cranial pressure (ICP). Drawing ABGs and obtaining a CT scan may add some useful information, but the low sodium level may lead to seizures unless it is addressed quickly.

A patient with possible cerebral edema has a serum sodium level of 115 mEq/L (115 mmol/L) and a decreasing level of consciousness (LOC) and complains of a headache. Which of these prescribed interventions should the nurse implement first?

A patient whose right pupil is 10 mm and unresponsive to light

rational: The dilated and nonresponsive pupil may indicate an intracerebral hemorrhage and increased intracranial pressure. The other patients are not at immediate risk for complications such as herniation.

After the emergency department nurse has received a status report on the following patients who have been admitted with head injuries, which patient should the nurse assess first?

Temperature of 101.5° F (38.6° C)

rational: Patients who have basilar skull fractures are at risk for meningitis, so the elevated temperature should be reported to the health care provider. The other findings are typical of a patient with a basilar skull fracture.

Which assessment finding in a patient who was admitted the previous day with a basilar skull fracture is most important to report to the health care provider?

Oral temperature 101.6° F

rational: Infection is a serious consideration with ICP monitoring, especially with intraventricular catheters. The temperature indicates the need for antibiotics or removal of the monitor. The ICP, arterial pressure, and apical pulse are all borderline high but require only ongoing monitoring at this time.

When a patient's intracranial pressure (ICP) is being monitored with an intraventricular catheter, which information obtained by the nurse is most important to communicate to the health care provider?

The staff nurse suctions the patient every 2 hours.

rational: Suctioning increases intracranial pressure and is done only when the patient's respiratory condition indicates it is needed. The other actions by the staff nurse are appropriate.

The charge nurse observes an inexperienced staff nurse who is caring for a patient who has had a craniotomy for a brain tumor. Which action by the inexperienced nurse requires the charge nurse to intervene?

Obtain oxygen saturation.

rational: Airway patency and breathing are the most vital functions and should be assessed first. The neurologic assessments should be accomplished next and the health and medication history last.

A patient is brought to the emergency department (ED) by ambulance after being found unconscious on the bathroom floor by the spouse. Which action will the nurse take first?

Check capillary blood glucose level every 6 hours.

rational: Experienced NAP can obtain capillary blood glucose levels when they have been trained and evaluated in the skill. Monitoring and documentation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) color and intracranial pressure (ICP) require RN-level education and scope of practice. Although repositioning patients is frequently delegated to NAP, repositioning a patient with a ventriculostomy is complex and should be done by the RN.

The care plan for a patient who has increased intracranial pressure and a ventriculostomy includes the following nursing actions. Which action can the nurse delegate to nursing assistive personnel (NAP) who regularly work in the intensive care unit?

Pressure of oxygen in brain tissue (PbtO2) is 14 mm Hg

rational: The PbtO2 should be 20 to 40 mm Hg. Lower levels indicate brain ischemia. An intracranial pressure (ICP) of 15 mm Hg is at the upper limit of normal. CSF is produced at a rate of 20 to 30 mL/hour. The reason for the sinus tachycardia should be investigated, but the elevated heart rate is not as concerning as the decrease in PbtO2.

Which information about a patient who is hospitalized after a traumatic brain injury requires the most rapid action by the nurse?

The patient is more difficult to arouse.

rational: The change in level of consciousness (LOC) is an indicator of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) and suggests that action by the nurse is needed to prevent complications. The change in BP should be monitored but is not an indicator of a need for immediate nursing action. Headache is not unusual in a patient after a head injury. A slightly irregular apical pulse is not unusual.

When caring for a patient who has had a head injury, which assessment information requires the most rapid action by the nurse?

Urine output of 800 mL in the last hour

rational: The high urine output indicates that diabetes insipidus may be developing and interventions to prevent dehydration need to be rapidly implemented. The other data do not indicate a need for any change in therapy.

The nurse obtains these assessment findings for a patient who has a head injury. Which finding should be reported rapidly to the health care provider?

The patient takes warfarin (Coumadin) daily.

rational: The use of anticoagulants increases the risk for intracranial hemorrhage and should be immediately reported. The other information would not be unusual in a patient with a head injury who had just arrived to the ED.

When admitting a patient with a possible coup-contracoup injury after a car accident to the emergency department, the nurse obtains the following information. Which finding is most important to report to the health care provider?

Swap the nasopharyngeal mucosa for cultures.

rational: Antibiotic therapy should be instituted rapidly in bacterial meningitis, but cultures must be done before antibiotics are started. As soon as the cultures are done, the antibiotic should be started. Hypothermia therapy and acetaminophen administration are appropriate but can be started after the other actions are implemented.

A patient admitted with bacterial meningitis and a temperature of 102° F (38.8° C) has orders for all of these collaborative interventions. Which action should the nurse take first?

72 mm Hg
(The formula for calculation of cerebral perfusion pressure is [(Systolic pressure + Diastolic blood pressure × 2)/3] = intracranial pressure.)

An unconscious patient with a traumatic head injury has a blood pressure of 126/72 mm Hg, and an intracranial pressure of 18 mm Hg. The nurse will calculate the cerebral perfusion pressure as ____________________.

triggers that lead to facial pain.

rational: The major clinical manifestation of trigeminal neuralgia is severe facial pain that is triggered by cutaneous stimulation of the nerve. Ptosis, loss of taste, and facial weakness are not characteristics of trigeminal neuralgia.

When assessing a patient with newly diagnosed trigeminal neuralgia, the nurse will ask the patient about _______________

Examine the mouth and teeth thoroughly.

rational: Oral hygiene is frequently neglected because of fear of triggering facial pain. Having the patient clench the facial muscles will not be useful because the sensory branches of the nerve are affected by trigeminal neuralgia. Light touch and palpation may be triggers for pain and should be avoided.

Which action should the nurse take when assessing a patient with trigeminal neuralgia?

question the patient about social activities with family and friends.

rational: Because withdrawal from social activities is a common manifestation of trigeminal neuralgia, asking about social activities will help in evaluating whether the patient's symptoms have improved. Glycerol rhizotomy does not damage the corneal reflex or motor functions of the trigeminal nerve, so there is no need to use an eye shield, do facial exercises, or take precautions with chewing.

When evaluating a patient with trigeminal neuralgia who has had a glycerol rhizotomy, the nurse will ______________

Assess intake and output and dietary intake.

rational: The patient with an acute episode of trigeminal neuralgia may be unwilling to eat or drink, so assessment of nutritional and hydration status is important. Because stimulation by touch is the precipitating factor for pain, relaxation of the facial muscles will not improve symptoms. Application of ice is likely to precipitate pain. The patient will not want to engage in conversation, which may precipitate attacks.

Which action will the nurse include in the plan of care when caring for a patient who is experiencing trigeminal neuralgia?

"Call the doctor if pain or herpes lesions occur near the ear."

rational: Pain or herpes lesions near the ear may indicate the onset of Bell's palsy and rapid corticosteroid treatment may reduce the duration of Bell's palsy symptoms. Antiviral therapy for herpes simplex does not reduce the risk for Bell's palsy. Corticosteroid therapy will be most effective in reducing symptoms if started before paralysis is complete but will still be somewhat effective when started later. Facial exercises do not prevent Bell's palsy.

When teaching patients who are at risk for Bell's palsy because of previous herpes simplex infection, which information should the nurse include?

respect the patient's desire and arrange for privacy at mealtimes.

rational: The patient's desire for privacy should be respected to encourage adequate nutrition and reduce patient embarrassment. Liquid supplements will reduce the patient's enjoyment of the taste of food. It would be inappropriate for the nurse to discuss the patient's embarrassment with visitors unless the patient wishes to share this information. Chewing on the unaffected side of the mouth will enhance nutrition and enjoyment of food but will not decrease the drooling.

A patient with Bell's palsy refuses to eat while others are present because of embarrassment about drooling. The best response by the nurse to the patient's behavior is to _______________

Teach the purpose of a prescribed bowel program.

rational: Fecal impaction is a common stimulus for autonomic dysreflexia. The other actions may be included in the plan of care but will not reduce the risk for autonomic dysreflexia.

Which nursing action will the home health nurse include in the plan of care for a patient with paraplegia in order to prevent autonomic dysreflexia?

The patient has continuous drooling of saliva.

rational: Drooling indicates decreased ability to swallow, which places the patient at risk for aspiration and requires rapid nursing and collaborative actions such as suctioning and possible endotracheal intubation. The foot pain should be treated with appropriate analgesics, and the BP requires ongoing monitoring, but these actions are not as urgently needed as maintenance of respiratory function. Absence of the reflexes should be documented, but this is a common finding in Guillain-Barré syndrome.

When caring for a patient who has Guillain-Barré syndrome, which assessment data obtained by the nurse will require the most immediate action?

IV infusion of immunoglobulin (Sandoglobulin).

rational: Because the Guillain-Barré syndrome is in the earliest stages (as evidenced by the symptoms), use of high-dose immunoglobulin is appropriate to reduce the extent and length of symptoms. Mechanical ventilation and tube feedings may be used later in the progression of the syndrome but are not needed now. Corticosteroid use is not helpful in reducing the duration or symptoms of the syndrome.

A patient who has numbness and weakness of both feet is hospitalized with Guillain-Barré syndrome. The nurse will anticipate the need to teach the patient about _____________

administration of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster.

rational: If the patient has not been immunized within 5 years, administration of the Td booster is indicated because the wound is deep. Immune globulin administration is given by the IM route if the patient has no previous immunization. Administration of a series of immunization is not indicated. TIG is not indicated for this patient, and a test dose is not needed for immune globulin.

A patient arrives at an urgent care center with a deep puncture wound after stepping on a nail that was lying on the ground. The patient reports having had a tetanus booster 7 years ago. The nurse will anticipate ______________

hypotension, bradycardia, and warm extremities.

rational: Neurogenic shock is characterized by hypotension, bradycardia, and vasodilation leading to warm skin temperature. Spasticity and hyperactive reflexes do not occur at this stage of spinal cord injury. Lack of movement and sensation indicate spinal cord injury, but not neurogenic shock.

A patient with a neck fracture at the C5 level is admitted to the intensive care unit. During initial assessment of the patient, the nurse recognizes the presence of neurogenic shock on finding ________________

Positioning the patient's right leg when turning the patient

rational: The patient with Brown-Séquard syndrome has loss of motor function on the ipsilateral side and will require the nurse to move the right leg. Pain sensation will be lost on the patient's left leg. Left arm weakness will not be a problem for a patient with a T7 injury. The patient will retain position sense for the left leg.

A patient has an incomplete right spinal cord lesion at the level of T7, resulting in Brown-Séquard syndrome. Which nursing action should be included in the plan of care?

full function of the patient's arms will be retained.

rational: The patient with a T1 injury can expect to retain full motor and sensory function of the arms. Use of only the shoulders is associated with cervical spine injury. Loss of respiratory function occurs with cervical spine injuries. Bradycardia is associated with injuries above the T6 level.

A patient with a T1 spinal cord injury is admitted to the intensive care unit. The nurse will teach the patient and family that ______________

Teach the patient how to self-catheterize.

rational: Because the patient's bladder is spastic and will empty in response to overstretching of the bladder wall, the most appropriate method is to avoid incontinence by emptying the bladder at regular intervals through intermittent catheterization. Assisting the patient to the toilet will not be helpful because the bladder will not empty. The Credé method is more appropriate for a bladder that is flaccid, such as occurs with a reflexic neurogenic bladder. Catheterization after voiding will not resolve the patient's incontinence.

A patient with paraplegia resulting from a T10 spinal cord injury has a neurogenic reflex bladder. Which action will the nurse include in the plan of care?

push a manual wheelchair on flat, smooth surfaces.

rational: The patient with a C6 injury will be able to use the hands to push a wheelchair on flat, smooth surfaces. Because flexion of the thumb and fingers is minimal, the patient will not be able to grasp a wheelchair during transfer, drive a car with powered hand controls, or turn independently in bed.

When the nurse is developing a rehabilitation plan for a patient with a C6 spinal cord injury, an appropriate patient goal is that the patient will be able to _____________

Ask for the patient's input into the plan for care.

rational: The patient is demonstrating behaviors consistent with the anger phase of the mourning process, and the nurse should allow expression of anger and seek the patient's input into care. Expression of anger is appropriate at this stage and should be tolerated by the nurse. Reassurance about the competency of the staff will not be helpful in responding to the patient's anger. Ignoring the patient's comments will increase the patient's anger and sense of helplessness.

A patient who sustained a spinal cord injury a week ago becomes angry, telling the nurse "I want to be transferred to a hospital where the nurses know what they are doing!" Which reaction by the nurse is best?

develop a plan to increase the patient's independence in consultation with the patient and the spouse.

rational: The best action by the nurse will be to involve all the parties in developing an optimal plan of care. Because family members who will be assisting with the patient's ongoing care need to feel that their input is important, telling the spouse that the patient can perform activities independently is not the best choice. Reminding the patient about the importance of independence may not change the behaviors of the spouse. Supporting the activities of the spouse will lead to ongoing dependency by the patient.

After a 25-year-old patient has returned home following rehabilitation for a spinal cord injury, the home care nurse notes that the spouse is performing many of the activities that the patient had been managing during rehabilitation. The most appropriate action by the nurse at this time is to _____________

Give magnesium citrate 8 oz now.

rational: Magnesium is contraindicated because it may worsen the neuromuscular blockade. The other orders are appropriate for the patient.

The health care provider prescribes these interventions for a patient with possible botulism poisoning. Which one will the nurse question?

Assessment of respiratory rate and depth

rational: Edema around the area of injury may lead to damage above the C4 level, so the highest priority is assessment of the patient's respiratory function. The other actions also are appropriate but are not as important as assessment of respiratory effort.

When caring for a patient who was admitted 24 hours previously with a C5 spinal cord injury, which nursing action has the highest priority?

observing respiratory rate and effort.

rational: The most serious complication of Guillain-Barré syndrome is respiratory failure, and the nurse should monitor respiratory function continuously. The other assessments also will be included in nursing care, but they are not as important as respiratory assessment.

A 24-year-old patient is hospitalized with the onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome. During this phase of the patient's illness, the most essential assessment for the nurse to carry out is ______________

administer an intradermal test dose.

rational: To prevent allergic reactions, an intradermal test dose of the antitoxin should be administered. Although temperature, allergy history, and symptom assessment and documentation are appropriate, these assessments will not affect the decision to administer the antitoxin.

A patient admitted to the emergency department is diagnosed with botulism, and an order for botulinum antitoxin is received. Before administering the antitoxin, it is most important for the nurse to _______________

place the hands on the epigastric area and push upward when the patient coughs.

rational: Since the cough effort is poor, the initial action should be to use assisted coughing techniques to improve the ability to mobilize secretions. Administration of oxygen will improve oxygenation, but the data do not indicate hypoxemia. The use of the spirometer may improve respiratory status, but the patient's ability to take deep breaths is limited by the loss of intercostal muscle function. Suctioning may be needed if the patient is unable to expel secretions by coughing but should not be the nurse's first action.

When caring for a patient who had a C8 spinal cord injury 10 days ago and has a weak cough effort and loose-sounding secretions, the initial intervention by the nurse should be to ____________

Leg strength and sensation

rational: The purpose of methylprednisolone administration is to help preserve motor function and sensation. Therefore the nurse will assess this patient for lower extremity function. The other data also will be collected by the nurse, but they do not reflect the effectiveness of the methylprednisolone.

To evaluate the effectiveness of IV methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) given to a patient with a T4 spinal cord injury, which information is most important for the nurse to obtain?

Check the blood pressure (BP).

rational: The BP should be assessed immediately in a patient with an injury at the T6 level or higher who complains of a headache to determine whether autonomic dysreflexia is occurring. Notification of the patient's health care provider is appropriate after the BP is obtained. Administration of an antiemetic is indicated after autonomic dysreflexia is ruled out as the cause of the nausea. The nurse may assess for a fecal impaction, but this should be done after checking the BP and lidocaine jelly should be used to prevent further increases in the BP.

A patient with a history of a T2 spinal cord injury tells the nurse, "I feel awful today. My head is throbbing, and I feel sick to my stomach." Which action should the nurse take first?

The patient has new onset weakness of both legs.

rational: The new onset of symptoms indicates cord compression, an emergency that requires rapid treatment to avoid permanent loss of function. The other patient assessments also indicate a need for nursing action but do not require intervention as rapidly as the new onset weakness.

The nurse is assessing a patient who is being evaluated for a possible spinal cord tumor. Which finding by the nurse requires the most immediate action?

Passive range of motion to extremities q8hr

rational: Assisting a patient with movement is included in nursing assistant education and scope of practice. Administration of tube feedings, administration of ordered medications, and assessment are skills requiring more education and scope of practice, and the RN should perform these skills.

Which of these nursing actions for a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome is most appropriate for the nurse to delegate to an experienced nursing assistant?

Multiple options are available to maintain sexuality after spinal cord injury.

rational: Although sexuality will be changed by the patient's spinal cord injury, there are options for expression of sexuality and for fertility. The other information also is correct, but the choices will depend on the degrees of injury and the patient's individual feelings about sexuality.

A 26-year-old patient with a T3 spinal cord injury asks the nurse about whether he will be able to be sexually active. Which initial response by the nurse is best?

-Urinary catheter care
-Continuous cardiac monitoring
-Avoidance of cool room temperature
-Administration of H2 receptor blockers

rational: The patient is at risk for bradycardia and poikilothermia caused by sympathetic nervous system dysfunction and should have continuous cardiac monitoring and maintenance of a relatively warm room temperature. Gastrointestinal (GI) motility is decreased initially and NG suctioning is indicated. To avoid bladder distention, a urinary retention catheter is used during this acute phase. Stress ulcers are a common complication but can be avoided through the use of the H2 receptor blockers such as famotidine.

When caring for a patient who experienced a T1 spinal cord transsection 2 days ago, which collaborative and nursing actions will the nurse include in the plan of care:

1) Immobilize the patient's head, neck, and spine.
2) Administer O2 using a non-rebreather mask.
3) Monitor cardiac rhythm and blood pressure.
4) Infuse normal saline at 150 mL/hr.
5) Transfer the patient to radiology for spinal computed tomography (CT).

rational: The first action should be to prevent further injury by stabilizing the patient's spinal cord. Maintenance of oxygenation by administration of 100% O2 is the second priority. Because neurogenic shock is a possible complication, monitoring of heart rhythm and BP are indicated, followed by infusing normal saline for volume replacement. A CT scan to determine the extent and level of injury is needed once initial assessment and stabilization are accomplished.

In which order will the nurse perform the following actions when caring for a patient with possible C6 spinal cord trauma who is admitted to the emergency department?

The patient was oriented and alert when admitted.

rational: The onset of delirium occurs acutely. The degree of disorientation does not differentiate between delirium and dementia. Increasing confusion for several years is consistent with dementia. Fragmented and incoherent speech may occur with either delirium or dementia.

A patient who is hospitalized with pneumonia is disoriented and confused 2 days after admission. Which information obtained by the nurse about the patient indicates that the patient is experiencing delirium rather than dementia?

Remind the patient frequently about being in the hospital.

rational: The patient with moderate dementia will have problems with short- and long-term memory and will need reminding about the hospitalization. The other interventions would be used for a patient with severe dementia, who would have difficulty with swallowing, self-care, and immobility.

When developing a plan of care for a hospitalized patient with moderate dementia, which intervention will the nurse include?

choose a place without distracting environmental stimuli.

rational: Because overstimulation by environmental factors can distract the patient from the task of answering the nurse's questions, these stimuli should be avoided. The nurse will not wait to give the examination because action to correct the delirium should occur as soon as possible. Reorienting the patient is not appropriate during the examination. Antianxiety medications may increase the patient's delirium.

When administering a mental status examination to a patient with delirium, the nurse should _____________

assign a nursing assistant to stay with the patient and offer frequent reorientation.

rational: The priority goal is to protect the patient from harm, and a staff member will be most experienced in providing safe care. Visits by family members are helpful in reorienting the patient, but families should not be responsible for protecting patients from injury. Antipsychotic medications may be ordered, but only if other measures are not effective because these medications have multiple side effects. Restraints are sometimes used but tend to increase agitation and disorientation.

To protect a patient from injury during an episode of delirium, the most appropriate action by the nurse is to ______________

Schedule the patient for more frequent appointments.

rational: Ongoing monitoring is recommended for patients with MCI. MCI does not interfere with activities of daily living, acetylcholinesterase drugs are not used for MCI, and an assisted living facility is not indicated for MCI.

Which action will the nurse in the outpatient clinic include in the plan of care for a patient with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)?

"I don't know."

rational: Answers such as "I don't know" are more typical of depression. The response "Who are those people over there?" is more typical of the distraction seen in a patient with delirium. The remaining two answers are more typical of a patient with dementia.

When administering a mental status examination to a patient, the nurse suspects depression when the patient responds with ______________

loss of both recent and long-term memory.

rational: Loss of both recent and long-term memory is characteristic of moderate dementia. Patients with dementia have frequent nighttime awakening. Dementia is progressive, and the patient's ability to perform tasks would not have periods of improvement. Difficulty eating and swallowing is characteristic of severe dementia.

A 72-year-old patient is diagnosed with moderate dementia as a result of multiple strokes. During assessment of the patient, the nurse would expect to find _____________

Use the Confusion Assessment Method tool to assess the patient.

rational: The Confusion Assessment Method tool has been extensively tested in assessing delirium. The other actions will be helpful in determining cognitive function or risk factors for dementia or delirium, but they will not be useful in differentiating between dementia and delirium.

To determine whether a new patient's confusion is caused by dementia or delirium, which action should the nurse take?

"What did you have for breakfast?"

rational: This question tests the patient's recent memory, which is decreased early in Alzheimer's disease (AD) or dementia. Asking the patient about birthplace tests for remote memory, which is intact in the early stages. Questions about the patient's emotions and self-image are helpful in assessing emotional status, but they are not as helpful in assessing mental state.

A 62-year-old patient is brought to the clinic by a family member who is concerned about the patient's inability to solve common problems. To obtain information about the patient's current mental status, which question should the nurse ask the patient?

a diagnosis of AD can be made only when other causes of dementia have been ruled out.

rational: The diagnosis of AD is one of exclusion. Age is the most important risk factor for development of AD. Drugs can slow the deterioration but do not dramatically reverse the effects of AD. Brain atrophy is a common finding in AD, but it can occur in other diseases as well and does not confirm an AD diagnosis.

When teaching the children of a patient who is being evaluated for Alzheimer's disease (AD) about the disorder, the nurse explains that

Having the patient's spouse administer the medication

rational: Because the patient with mild dementia will have difficulty with learning new skills and forgetfulness, the most appropriate nursing action is to have someone else administer the drug. The other nursing actions will not be as effective in ensuring that the patient takes the medications.

A patient with mild dementia has a new prescription for donepezil (Aricept). Which nursing action will be most effective in ensuring compliance with the medication?

Maintain a consistent daily routine for the patient's care.

rational: Providing a consistent routine will decrease anxiety and confusion for the patient. In late-stage AD, the patient will not remember events from the past. Reorientation to time and place will not be helpful to the patient with late-stage AD, and the patient will not be able to read.

Which intervention will the nurse include in the plan of care for a patient who has late-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD)?

Place the patient in a room close to the nurses' station.

rational: Patients at risk for problems with safety require close supervision. Placing the patient near the nurse's station will allow nursing staff to observe the patient more closely. The use of "why" questions is frustrating for patients with AD because they are unable to understand clearly or verbalize the reason for wandering behaviors. Because of the patient's short-term memory loss, reorientation will not help prevent wandering behavior. Because the patient had wandering behavior at home, familiar objects will not prevent wandering.

When assessing a patient with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who is being admitted to a long-term care facility, the nurse learns that the patient has had several episodes of wandering away from home. Which nursing action will the nurse include in the plan of care?

Keep blinds open during the daytime hours.

rational: The most likely cause of sundowning is a disruption in circadian rhythms and keeping the patient active and in daylight will help to reestablish a more normal circadian pattern. Moving the patient to a different room might increase confusion. Taking a nap will interfere with nighttime sleep. Hourly orientation will not be helpful in a patient with memory difficulties.

During the morning change-of-shift report at the long-term care facility, the nurse learns that the patient with dementia has had sundowning. Which nursing action should the nurse take while caring for the patient?

assess for factors that might be causing discomfort.

rational: Increased motor activity in a patient with dementia is frequently the patient's only way of responding to factors like pain, so the nurse's initial action should be to assess the patient for any precipitating factors. Administration of sedative drugs may be indicated, but this should not be done until assessment for precipitating factors has been completed and any of these factors have been addressed. Reorientation is unlikely to be helpful for the patient with moderate dementia. Assigning a nursing assistant to stay with the patient also may be necessary, but any physical changes that may be causing the agitation should be addressed first.

A long-term care patient with moderate dementia develops increased restlessness and agitation. The nurse's initial action should be to

-Offer ideas for ways to distract or redirect the patient.
-Educate the spouse about the availability of adult day care as a respite.
-Ask the spouse what she knows and has considered about dementia care options.

rational: The stress of being a caregiver can be managed with a multicomponent approach. This includes respite care, learning ways to manage challenging behaviors, and further assessment of what the spouse may already have considered. The patient is in the early stages and does not need long-term placement. Antianxiety medications may be appropriate but other measures should be tried first.

The spouse of a male patient with early stage Alzheimer's disease (AD) tells the nurse, "I am just exhausted from the constant worry. I don't know what to do." Which action is best for the nurse to take next:

oral administration of low dose aspirin therapy.

rational: The patient's symptoms are consistent with transient ischemic attack (TIA), and drugs that inhibit platelet aggregation are prescribed after a TIA to prevent stroke. Continuous heparin infusion is not routinely used after TIA or with acute ischemic stroke. The patient's symptoms are not consistent with a cerebral aneurysm. tPA is used only for acute ischemic stroke, not for TIA.

The nurse expects that management of the patient who experiences a brief episode of tinnitus, diplopia, and dysarthria with no residual effects will include ______________

The patient states, "My symptoms started with a terrible headache."

rational: A sudden onset headache is typical of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and aspirin is contraindicated. Atrial fibrillation, dysphasia, and transient ischemic attack (TIA) are not contraindications to aspirin use, so the nurse can administer the aspirin.

Aspirin is ordered for a patient who is admitted with a possible stroke. Which information obtained during the admission assessment indicates that the nurse should consult with the health care provider before giving the aspirin?

Difficulty in understanding commands

rational: Right-sided paralysis indicates a left-brain stroke, which will lead to difficulty with comprehension and use of language. The left-side reflexes are likely to be intact. Impulsive behavior and neglect are more likely with a right-side stroke.

A patient with a stroke experiences right-sided arm and leg paralysis and facial drooping on the right side. When admitting the patient, which clinical manifestation will the nurse expect to find?

visual deficits.

rational: Visual disturbances are expected with posterior cerebral artery occlusion. Aphasia occurs with middle cerebral artery involvement. Cognitive deficits and changes in judgment are more typical of anterior cerebral artery occlusion.

The nurse receives a verbal report that a patient has an occlusion of the left posterior cerebral artery. The nurse will anticipate that the patient may have ___________________

to call the health care provider if stools are tarry.

rational: Plavix inhibits platelet function and increases the risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, so patients should be advised to notify the health care provider about any signs of bleeding. The medication does not lower blood pressure, decrease plaque formation, or dissolve clots.

The health care provider prescribes clopidogrel (Plavix) for a patient with cerebral atherosclerosis. When teaching about the new medication, the nurse will tell the patient ______________

"The carotid endarterectomy involves surgical removal of plaque from an artery in the neck."

rational: In a carotid endarterectomy, the carotid artery is incised and the plaque is removed. The response beginning, "The diseased portion of the artery in the brain is removed" describes an arterial graft procedure. The answer beginning, "A catheter with a deflated balloon is positioned at the narrow area" describes an angioplasty. The final response beginning, "A wire is threaded through the artery" describes the MERCI procedure.

The health care provider recommends a carotid endarterectomy for a patient with carotid atherosclerosis and a history of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). The patient asks the nurse to describe the procedure. Which response by the nurse is appropriate?

Titrate labetolol (Normodyne) drip to keep BP less than 140/90 mm Hg.

rational: Because elevated BP may be a protective response to maintain cerebral perfusion, antihypertensive therapy is recommended only if mean arterial pressure (MAP) is >130 mm Hg or systolic pressure is >220 mm Hg. Fluid intake should be 1500 to 2000 mL daily to maintain cerebral blood flow. The head of the bed should be elevated to at least 30 degrees, unless the patient has symptoms of poor tissue perfusion. tPA may be administered if the patient meets the other criteria for tPA use.

When assessing a patient with a possible stroke, the nurse finds that the patient's aphasia started 3.5 hours previously and the blood pressure is 170/92 mm Hg. Which of these orders by the health care provider should the nurse question?

tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) infusion.

rational: The patient's history and clinical manifestations suggest an acute ischemic stroke and a patient who is seen within 4.5 hours of stroke onset is likely to receive tPA (after screening with a CT scan). Heparin administration in the emergency phase is not indicated. Emergent carotid transluminal angioplasty or endarterectomy is not indicated for the patient who is having an acute ischemic stroke.

A patient with a history of several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) arrives in the emergency department with hemiparesis and dysarthria that started 2 hours previously. The nurse anticipates the need to prepare the patient for __________

ask simple questions that the patient can answer with "yes" or "no."

rational: Communication will be facilitated and less frustrating to the patient when questions that require a "yes" or "no" response are used. When the language areas of the brain are injured, the patient might not be able to read or recite words, which will frustrate the patient without improving communication. Expressive aphasia is caused by damage to the language areas of the brain, not by the areas that control the motor aspects of speech. The nurse should allow time for the patient to respond.

The nurse identifies the nursing diagnosis of impaired verbal communication for a patient with expressive aphasia. An appropriate nursing intervention to help the patient communicate is to _______________

risk for injury related to denial of deficits and impulsiveness.

rational: Right-sided brain damage typically causes denial of any deficits and poor impulse control, leading to risk for injury when the patient attempts activities such as transferring from a bed to a chair. Right-sided brain damage causes left hemiplegia. Left-sided brain damage typically causes language deficits. Left-sided brain damage is associated with depression and distress about the disability.

A patient has a stroke affecting the right hemisphere of the brain. Based on knowledge of the effects of right brain damage, the nurse establishes a nursing diagnosis of _______________

Place objects needed for activities of daily living on the patient's right side.

rational: During the acute period, the nurse should place objects on the patient's unaffected side. Since there is a visual defect in the left half of each eye, an eye patch is not appropriate. The patient should be approached from the right side. The visual deficit may not resolve, although the patient can learn to compensate for the defect.

When caring for a patient with left-sided homonymous hemianopsia resulting from a stroke, which intervention should the nurse include in the plan of care during the acute period of the stroke?

Assist the patient to eat with the left hand.

rational: Because the nursing diagnosis indicates that the patient's imbalanced nutrition is related to the right-sided hemiplegia, the appropriate interventions will focus on teaching the patient to use the left hand for self-feeding. The other interventions are appropriate for patients with other etiologies for the imbalanced nutrition.

The nurse identifies the nursing diagnosis of imbalanced nutrition: less than body requirements related to impaired self-feeding ability for a patient with right-sided hemiplegia. Which intervention should be included in the plan of care?

Applying intermittent pneumatic compression stockings

rational: The patient with a subarachnoid hemorrhage usually has minimal activity to prevent cerebral vasospasm or further bleeding and is at risk for venous thromboemboism (VTE). Activities such as coughing and sitting up that might increase intracranial pressure (ICP) or decrease cerebral blood flow are avoided. Because there is no indication that the patient is unconscious, an oropharyngeal airway is inappropriate.

A 32-year-old patient has a stroke resulting from a ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Which intervention will be included in the care plan?

assist the patient into a chair.

rational: The patient should be as upright as possible before attempting feeding to make swallowing easier and decrease aspiration risk. To assess swallowing ability, the nurse should initially offer water or ice to the patient. Pureed diets are not recommended because the texture is too smooth. The patient may have a poor appetite, but the oral feeding should be attempted regardless.

A patient who has had a stroke has a new order to attempt oral feedings. The nurse should assess the gag reflex and then _____________

Disabled family coping related to inadequate understanding by patient's spouse

rational: The information supports the diagnosis of disabled family coping because the wife does not understand the rehabilitation program. There are no data supporting low self-esteem, and the patient is attempting independence. The data do not support an interruption in family processes because this may be a typical pattern for the couple. There is no indication that the patient has impaired nutrition.

A patient who has right-sided weakness after a stroke is attempting to use the left hand for feeding and other activities. The patient's wife insists on feeding and dressing him, telling the nurse, "I just don't like to see him struggle." Which nursing diagnosis is most appropriate for the patient?

Assist the patient onto the bedside commode every 2 hours.

rational: Developing a regular voiding schedule will prevent incontinence and may increase patient awareness of a full bladder. A 1200 mL fluid restriction may lead to dehydration. Intermittent catheterization and use of a condom catheter are appropriate in the acute phase of stroke but should not be considered solutions for long-term management because of the risks for urinary tract infection (UTI) and skin breakdown.

Several weeks after a stroke, a patient has urinary incontinence resulting from an impaired awareness of bladder fullness. For an effective bladder training program, which nursing intervention will be best to include in the plan of care?

Explain that the aspirin is ordered to decrease stroke risk.

rational: Aspirin is ordered to prevent stroke in patients who have experienced TIAs. Documentation of the patient's refusal to take the medication is an inadequate response by the nurse. There is no need to clarify the order with the health care provider. The aspirin is not ordered to prevent aches and pains.

A patient who has a history of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) has an order for aspirin 160 mg daily. When the nurse is administering the medications, the patient says, "I don't need the aspirin today. I don't have any aches or pains." Which action should the nurse take?

aspirin (Ecotrin).

rational: Following a TIA, patients typically are started on medications such as aspirin to inhibit platelet function and decrease stroke risk. tPA is used for acute ischemic stroke. Coumadin is usually used for patients with atrial fibrillation. Nimodipine is used to prevent cerebral vasospasm after a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

A patient is admitted to the hospital with dysphasia and right-sided weakness that resolves in a few hours. The nurse will anticipate teaching the patient about ____________

teach the family that emotional outbursts are common after strokes.

rational: Patients who have left-sided brain stroke are prone to emotional outbursts, which are not necessarily related to the emotional state of the patient. Depression after a stroke is common, but the suddenness of the patient's outburst suggests that depression is not the major cause of the behavior. The family should stay with the patient. The crying is not within the patient's control and asking the patient to stop will lead to embarrassment.

A patient with a left-sided brain stroke suddenly bursts into tears when family members visit. The nurse should _____________

The patient's blood pressure (BP) is usually about 180/90 mm Hg.

rational: Hypertension is the single most important modifiable risk factor and this patient's hypertension is at the stage 2 level. People who drink more than 1 (for women) or 2 (for men) alcoholic beverages a day may increase risk for hypertension. Physical inactivity and obesity contribute to stroke risk but not so much as hypertension.

The nurse obtains all of the following information about a 65-year-old patient in the clinic. When developing a plan to decrease stroke risk, which risk factor is most important for the nurse to address?

The patient has atrial fibrillation and takes warfarin (Coumadin).

rational: The use of warfarin will have contributed to the intracerebral bleeding and remains a risk factor for further bleeding. Administration of vitamin K is needed to reverse the effects of the warfarin, especially if the patient is to have surgery to correct the bleeding. The history of hypertension is a risk factor for the patient but has no immediate effect on the patient's care. The BP of 144/90 indicates the need for ongoing monitoring but not for any immediate change in therapy. Slurred speech is consistent with a left-sided stroke, and no change in therapy is indicated.

A patient with sudden-onset right-sided weakness has a CT scan and is diagnosed with an intracerebral hemorrhage. Which information about the patient is most important to communicate to the health care provider?

Noncontrast computed tomography (CT) scan

rational: Rapid screening with a noncontrast CT scan is needed before administration of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which must be given within 4.5 hours of the onset of clinical manifestations of the stroke. The sooner the tPA is given, the smaller the area of brain injury. The other diagnostic tests give information about possible causes of the stroke and do not need to be completed as urgently as the CT scan.

A patient with right-sided weakness that started 90 minutes earlier is admitted to the emergency department and all these diagnostic tests are ordered. Which test should be done first?

Risk for aspiration related to inability to protect airway

rational: Protection of the airway is the priority of nursing care for a patient having an acute stroke. The other diagnoses also are appropriate, but interventions to prevent aspiration are the priority at this time.

A patient with a stroke has progressive development of neurologic deficits with increasing weakness and decreased level of consciousness (LOC). Which nursing diagnosis has the highest priority for the patient?

The patient's blood pressure is 90/50 mm Hg.

rational: To prevent cerebral vasospasm and maintain cerebral perfusion, blood pressure needs to be maintained at a level higher than 90 mm Hg systolic after a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A low BP or drop in BP indicates a need to administer fluids and/or vasopressors to increase the BP. An ongoing headache, RBCs in the CSF, and a stiff neck are all typical clinical manifestations of a subarachnoid hemorrhage and do not need to be rapidly communicated to the health care provider.

A patient who has had a subarachnoid hemorrhage is being cared for in the intensive care unit. Which information about the patient is most important to communicate to the health care provider?

Administer the prescribed clopidogrel (Plavix).

rational: Administration of oral medications is included in LPN education and scope of practice. The other actions require more education and scope of practice and should be done by the RN.

Which of these nursing actions included in the care of a patient who has been experiencing stroke symptoms for 60 minutes can the nurse delegate to an LPN/LVN?

A patient with right-sided weakness who has an infusion of tPA prescribed

rational: tPA needs to be infused within the first few hours after stroke symptoms start in order to be effective in minimizing brain injury. The other medications also should be given as quickly as possible, but timing of the medications is not as critical.

After receiving change-of-shift report on the following four patients, which patient should the nurse see first?

The patient has difficulty talking.

rational: Small emboli can occur during carotid artery angioplasty and stenting, and the aphasia indicates a possible stroke during the procedure. Slightly elevated pulse rate and blood pressure are not unusual because of anxiety associated with the procedure. Fine crackles at the lung bases may indicate atelectasis caused by immobility during the procedure; the nurse should have the patient take some deep breaths.

The nurse is caring for a patient with carotid artery narrowing who has just returned after having left carotid artery angioplasty and stenting. Which assessment information is of most concern to the nurse?

Check the respiratory rate.

rational: The initial nursing action should be to assess the airway and take any needed actions to ensure a patent airway. The other activities should take place quickly after the ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation) are completed.

A patient with left-sided hemiparesis arrives by ambulance to the emergency department. Which action should the nurse take first?

1) Administer oxygen to keep O2 saturation >95%
2) Use National Institute of Health Stroke Scale to assess patient
3) Obtain CT scan without contrast.
4) Infuse tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

rational: The initial actions should be those that help with airway, breathing, and circulation. Baseline neurologic assessments should be done next. A CT scan will be needed to rule out hemorrhagic stroke before tPA can be administered.

A 58-year-old patient who began experiencing right-sided arm and leg weakness is admitted to the emergency department. In which order will the nurse implement these actions included in the stroke protocol?

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