Risk for aspiration nursing care plans essential before devising a treatment plan for patients. Aspiration takes place when some object gets into lungs via the nose or mouth. At times, such object intrusion may lead to aspiration pneumonia but not always. For instance, if one has pharyngeal reflex that causes cough, the aspirated object might be removed by air force. On the other hand, if a person inhales a secretion rich in bacteria, then there is a high possibility of getting aspiration pneumonia. When creating a risk for aspiration nursing care plan, it is important to know the difference in aspiration treatment: when it is pneumonia, it should be treated with antibiotics.
Among the defining characteristics of risk for aspiration is that it most likely comes as an aftermath of losing the gag reflex. Besides, it can be provoked by sedative medication, improper position, and the inability to get rid of secretion (clear emesis).
The desired result of the risk for aspiration nursing care plan is the preservation of oxygen, ensuring that the patient’s airways are free, and avoidance of subsequent complications (e.g. pneumonia).
Risk for Aspiration Care Plan: Data Gathering
- Subjective data: pain in the chest; breath shortness; general complexions in breathing.
- Objective data: blueness of fingers, lips, and face overall; sounds coming from the lungs (e.g. crackles); dyspnea/ tachypnea; low levels of oxygen saturation; unpleasant and putrid sputum.
Short-Term Goals for Risk for Aspiration: Medical Intervention and Rationale
- Protection of airways.
This is definitely the priority step in the maintenance of a patient’s health and saving the patient from further complications or lethality. All the other positions on this intervention list are great but this one is the fundamental one.
Preventive measures are a must but as the patient has already got substances in his/ her epiglottis, it is vital to make sure that subsequent complications are avoided.
Intubation is a measure that should be adequately provided. Here you have no right for mistake, so make sure to prepare for intubation as it is much more costly NOT to be prepared for it.
Suction comes next and it should be an obligatory step for an aspirated patient.
Oxygenation. It should be adequately provided and all the stuff should be prepared. It is vital to attentively monitor levels of oxygen and if they are lower than 94%, the patient should be immediately provided adequate care.
- In necessary cases, apply for suction. The suction should be made ready for emergent cases when the patient cannot make it out without it. If it is the only option to clear the airways, it should be applied.
- Carry out a swallow screen. It refers to an easy test initiated by a nurse that should be carried out on a non-NPO patient. The further care plan depends on whether the patient has passed the swallow test. For instance, if a patient cannot swallow, the option of treating fever with Tylenol will not be applicable. If a patient does not pass the swallow test, he/ she is automatically considered an NPO.
- Obtain a chest X-ray. It will assist in distinguishing between a patient suffering from aspiration and a patient having pneumonia. Besides, the results of the X-ray examination determine which treatment plan should be applied. It is vital for a nursing specialist to monitor for cases of aspiration and also inform the doctor on the presumable causes of a patient’s aspiration.
- Laboratory blood testing (complete blood count). The blood gas test is used for controlling the patient’s PaCO2 and PCO2. Besides, the complete blood count is used to find out the number of white blood cells. The results of blood tests are helpful in finding out proper ways of treatment and check out whether treatment options should be changed.
- Antibiotics (if needed) – Metronidazole and Clindamycin. These antibiotics are helpful treating pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, and for easing the illness.
- Assessment of respiratory function:
- Check out saturation with O2;
- Provide assessment of skin color;
- Evaluate the regularity, rate, and depth of breathing;
- Assess the symmetry in raising and falling of the chest.
These steps should be applied to the treatment process on every patient. If a patient has some further more complicated symptoms, the checking of neuro functions should be carried out as well. As well as that, a person with aspiration pneumonia should be more frequently checked for respiratory functions. The frequency of checkouts should be based on the severity of a patient’s situation and the final clinical verdict.
All in all, when designing a treatment plan for patients suffering from aspiration, it is necessary to consider the treatment tips and options provided in the article. They will help to handle the cases in a more diligent and appropriate way.