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Journal of Neuroscience Nursing:
Article

Fever Management Practices of Neuroscience Nurses: National and Regional Perspectives

Thompson, Hilaire J.; Kirkness, Catherine J.; Mitchell, Pamela H.; Webb, Deborah J.

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Abstract

Neuroscience patients with fever may have worse outcomes than those who are afebrile. However, neuroscience nurses who encounter this common problem face a translational gap between patient‐outcomes research and bedside practice because there is no current evidence‐based standard of care for fever management of the neurologically vulnerable patient. The aim of this study was to determine if there are trends in national practices for fever and hyperthermia management of the neurologically vulnerable patient. A 15‐item mailed questionnaire was used to determine national and regional trends in fever and hyperthermia management and decision making by neuroscience nurses. Members of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses were surveyed (N = 1,225) and returned 328 usable surveys. Fewer than 20% of respondents reported having an explicit fever management protocol in place for neurologic patients, and 12.5% reported having a nonspecific patient protocol available for fever management. Several clear and consistent patterns in interventions for fever and hyperthermia management were seen nationally, including acetaminophen administration at a dose of 650 mg every 4 hours, ice packs, water cooling blankets, and tepid bathing. However, regional differences were seen in intervention choices and initial temperature to treat.

© 2007 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses

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