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Unilateral Neglect: Assessment in Nursing Practice

Jepson, Rick; Despain, Kurt; Keller, David C.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: June 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 3 - p 142–149
Then & Now

The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association has recognized unilateral neglect (UN) as a nursing diagnosis for more than 2 decades. Such a designation implies that nurses primarily are responsible for assessing, treating, and researching the disorder. However, nurses have made few documented contributions toward this responsibility. Although UN is a complex problem that requires attention from several specialties, there is room for nurses to substantially increase their role. Nurses are uniquely positioned to assess and treat UN by virtue of their interaction with patients in a variety of times, settings, and activities. Nurses need to develop quantifiable measures of clinical observation that are reliable and valid in nursing practice. This article reviews the literature to examine the impact of UN, existing assessment methods, and nursing involvement in assessment and treatment. Potential nursing contributions in practice and research are featured as well.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Rick Jepson, RN ASN, at jepsonrick@hotmail.com. He is a registered nurse coordinator in the acute dialysis department at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Provo, UT.

Kurt Despain, BSN RN, is a registered nurse in the acute and chronic dialysis department at LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.

David C. Keller, MS APRN, is an associate professor in the department of nursing at Utah Valley State College, Orem, UT.

© 2008 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses