Nursing Interventions for Spinal Injuries

Nursing Interventions: Spinal Injuries

  1. During the initial assessment and X-rays, immobilize the patient on a firm surface, with sandbags on both sides of his head.
  2. Instruct the patient not to move. If possible, avoid moving the patient because hyperflexion can damage the cord.
  3. Offer comfort and reassurance to the patient, talking to him quietly and calmly.
  4. If the injury necessitates surgery, administer prophylactic antibiotics as ordered.
  5. Catheterize the patient as ordered to avoid urine retention, and monitor defecation patterns to avoid impaction.
  6. If the patient has a halo or skull tong traction device, clean the pin sites daily, trim his hair short, and provide analgesics for headaches.
  7. During traction, turn the patient often to prevent pneumonia, embolism, and skin breakdown.
  8. Perform passive-range-of-motion exercises to maintain muscle tone.
  9. To prevent aspiration, turn the patient on his side during feedings. Create a relaxed atmosphere at mealtimes.
  10. If necessary, insert a nasogastric tube to prevent gastric retention.
  11. Suggest appropriate diversionary activities to fill the hours of immobility.
  12. Help the patient walk as soon as the doctor allows the patient.
  13. Explain the traction methods to the patient and his family.

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