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Nursing Care of Patients With Disorders of Consciousness

Puggina, Ana Cláudia Giesbrecht; Paes da Silva, Maria Júlia; Schnakers, Caroline; Laureys, Steven

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: October 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 260–270
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e3182666407
Article

ABSTRACT: Management of severely brain-injured patients constitutes a social, economical, and ethical dilemma as well as a real challenge for the medical staff, as it requires specific expertise. The aim of this article is to explore the aspects of nursing care in patients recovering from coma such as difficulty of diagnosis, residual perception, clinical assessment, care and management, and communication with the patient and the family. The nursing care of patients with disorder of consciousness must be particular and specific for various reasons such as the difficult diagnosis, the problem of unconsciousness or lack of demonstration of consciousness, extremely complex clinical assessment, daily management with total dependence, communication with patients that requires special attention and training by health professionals, and communication with the family of these patients that requires more sensitivity and full involvement by the team.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Ana Cláudia Giesbrecht Puggina, RN PhD, at claudiapuggina@usp.br. She is a member of the Research Group about Communication in Nursing at School of Nursing, University of São Paulo (EE-USP), São Paulo, Brazil.

Maria Júlia Paes da Silva, RN PhD, is a full professor at the School of Nursing, University of São Paulo (EE-USP), São Paulo, Brazil.

Caroline Schnakers, PhD, is a member of the Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

Steven Laureys, MD PhD, is the leader of the Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses