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Adolescents Still Need Developmentally-Based Care

Last Updated: August 17, 2009.

Providing developmentally-based care to school-aged and adolescent perioperative patients is vital for easing stress and fears associated with the surgical experience, according to a paper published in the August issue of the AORN Journal.

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Providing developmentally-based care to school-aged and adolescent perioperative patients is vital for easing stress and fears associated with the surgical experience, according to a paper published in the August issue of the AORN Journal.

Elaine Taylor, A.P.R.N., of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, writes that school-aged (age 6 through about age 12) and adolescent (age 11 to 12 through age 18 to 20) patients are not too old to need developmentally-based care, and that the surgical experience may even cause them to developmentally regress. She says the major fear of school-aged children related to surgery involves loss of control, whereas the major fear of adolescents is disfigurement, and nurses need to address these fears and make sure patients are well-informed of what they may experience.

Taylor writes that nurses should take steps that are particularly important for these age groups, including carefully monitoring vital signs and hydration status during the perioperative process, ensuring that appropriately sized equipment is available, documenting whether the patient has loose or missing teeth, documenting all immunizations and communicable disease exposure, inquiring about the patient's respiratory and medical history, and ensuring that the patient can use an appropriate scale for rating pain.

"Perioperative nurses are in a pivotal position to influence the approach taken during the perioperative process and to provide safe, family-centered care that is developmentally based. With use of a developmental approach, the outcome of the perioperative process may be positive for everyone involved," Taylor concludes.

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