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Assessment of the Respiratory System

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000310
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Assessment of the Respiratory System


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  • You will receive your CE certificate of earned contact hours and an answer key to review your results. There is no mini- mum passing grade.
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Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, publisher of Home Healthcare Now, will award 1.5 contact hours for this continuing nursing education activity.

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

This activity is also provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 11749 for 1.5 contact hours. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins is also an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the District of Columbia and Florida #50-1223. Your certificate is valid in all states.

The ANCC's accreditation status of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Department of Continuing Education refers only to its continuing nursing educational activities and does not imply Commission on Accreditation approval or endorsement of any commercial product.


GENERAL PURPOSE: To provide information about the components of a respiratory assessment for the older, home care patient.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: After reading this article and taking this test, you should be able to:

  1. Identify components and findings of a respiratory assessment.
  2. Recognize reasons why older adults are vulnerable to respiratory illness.
  1. Hemoptysis is the expectoration of sputum that is
    1. purulent.
    2. frothy.
    3. bloody.
  2. Older adults are at increased risk for respiratory disease because of which of the following physiologic changes in the respiratory system?
    1. loss of elasticity
    2. muscle reconditioning
    3. increased cough reflex
  3. To assess oxygen saturation, which of the following areas should the clinician assess?
    1. ankles
    2. conjunctiva
    3. antecubital space
  4. Which of the following findings results from chronic hypoxemia?
    1. kyphosis
    2. widespread lentigines
    3. clubbing of the fingers
  5. Early manifestations of carbon monoxide poisoning include
    1. tinnitus.
    2. dizziness.
    3. diarrhea.
  6. How should the clinician position a patient who cannot sit up for a respiratory assessment?
    1. side-lying
    2. supine
    3. prone
  7. On palpation, the trachea should be
    1. soft.
    2. immovable.
    3. at midline.
  8. A cracking sensation on palpation with fingertip pressure is
    1. a friction rub.
    2. crackles.
    3. crepitus.
  9. Increased vocal fremitus is a possible indication of
    1. COPD.
    2. pneumonia.
    3. pneumothorax.
  10. Percussion sounds should be
    1. hollow.
    2. high-pitched.
    3. short in duration.
  11. Hypoventilation is a common cause of
    1. rhonchi.
    2. crackles.
    3. wheezes.
  12. Secretions in the airways typically cause
    1. rhonchi.
    2. crackles.
    3. wheezes.
  13. Bronchospasm results in
    1. rhonchi.
    2. stridor.
    3. wheezes.
  14. Which of the following sounds is a medical emergency and is loud, rough, continuous, and high-pitched?
    1. rhonchi.
    2. stridor.
    3. wheezes.
  15. Which of the following is a common physiologic alteration resulting from aging?
    1. flail chest
    2. barrel chest.
    3. pigeon chest.


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