In a postoperative patient with decreased responsiveness such as Mrs. Campana, on which key assessments should you focus immediately?

Mrs. Campana has just been transported to your surgical nursing division from the PACU. She underwent a right colectomy (right sided large bowel resection) for removal of a tumor. Her vital signs were stable in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), and her temperature was 36.8° C (98° F). She has an intravenous (IV) line in her right arm, a Foley catheter, a nasogastric (NG) tube, and oxygen at 4 L/min per nasal cannula. She received 10 mg of morphine sulfate intravenously in the PACU and now has morphine patient controlled analgesia (PCA) with a demand dose of 1 mg every 10 minutes connected to her IV line. When you assess her, she is slow to respond to your verbal questions.

 

·         Why may Mrs. Campana be slow to respond?

·         In a postoperative patient with decreased responsiveness such as Mrs. Campana, on which key assessments should you focus immediately?

·         Mrs. Campana’s daughter enters the room and is very concerned about her mother’s slowness to awaken. What do you tell her?

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