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Postoperative Nursing Management

1. Rita Schmidt, 74 years of age, is a female patient who was admitted to the surgical unit after undergoing removal of a section of the colon for colorectal cancer. The patient does not have a colostomy. The patient has several small abdominal incisions and a clear dressing over each site. The incisions are well approximated and the staples are dry and intact. There is a Jackson-Pratt drain intact with minimal serous sanguineous drainage present. The patient has a Salem sump tube connected to low continuous wall suction that is draining a small amount of brown liquid. The patient has no bowel sounds. The Foley catheter has a small amount of dark amber-colored urine without sediments. The patient has sequential compression device (SCD) in place. The nurse performs an assessment and notes that the patient’s breath sounds are decreased bilaterally in the bases and the patient has inspiratory crackles. The patient’s cardiac assessment is within normal limits. The patient is receiving O2 at 2 L per nasal cannula with a pulse oximetry reading of 95%. The vital signs include: blood pressure, 100/50 mm Hg; heart rate 110 bpm; respiratory rate 16 breaths/min; and the patient is afebrile. The patient is confused as to place and time. 

  1. Explain the assessment parameters used to provide clues to detect postoperative problems early and the interventions needed.
  2. What gerontological postoperative considerations should the nurse make?

2. Mr. John Smith is admitted to the hospital for surgical incision and drainage (I&D) of an abscess on his right calf, which resulted from a farm machinery accident. The right calf has an area 3 cm × 2.5 cm, which is red, warm and hard to touch, and edematous. 

  1. Explain the wound healing process according to the phase of Mr. Smith’s wound?
  2. The surgeon orders for wet-to-dry sterile saline dressing twice a day with iodoform gauze to the wound, covered with the wet-to-dry dressing. Explain how to perform this dressing change.

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