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Hand and Wrist Fractures*

Altizer, Linda

Orthopaedic Essentials

The upper extremities provide support, protection, and pleasure in the everyday activities of work, fun, sports, driving, and writing. When an upper extremity sustains an injury, it has a dramatic effect on quality-of-life issues. As professional caregivers, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the effects of upper extremity fractures. The assessment of the patient with an upper extremity should consist of the general health of the patient after a traumatic event, determination of the mechanism of injury, assessment of the fracture site, confirmation of the exact injury, identification of potential complications, and assessment of the patient’s social and professional statuses to identify potential problems that might affect treatment and rehabilitation.

Linda Altizer, MSN, RN, ONC, CLNC, Medical-Legal Consultant, Hagerstown, MD.

*A manufacturing problem in printing the original article resulted in the poor quality of the printed photographs. The article is being reprinted with upgraded photographs.

© 2003 National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses