What do you do when your patient is too dizzy to walk? Be prepared with a nursing care plan for vertigo so you know how to react and what to do to prevent injuries.
A Nursing Care Plan for Vertigo
What do you do when your patient is experiencing vertigo? You need to create a nursing care plan that will address the causes and risk factors. Here’s how.
What is Vertigo
Vertigo is often mistaken for dizziness in general, but it is actually the general term for an internal or external spinning sensation. The spinning feeling may be hardly noticeable, or it may be so severe that it hinders everyday tasks. Vertigo is actually a symptom of an underlying disease or illness, rather than a condition on its own.
What Causes Vertigo
Vertigo can be caused by a number of factors. However, the most common cause is an inner ear balance issue. In rare cases, it can also be caused by brain conditions.
- Migraines or severe headaches
- An inner ear infection or labyrinthitis
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) where certain head movements can trigger vertigo
- Inflammation of the nerve that runs into the inner ear and sends messages to the brain that help to control balance, also known as Vestibular Neuronitis
Symptoms of Vertigo
Symptoms of Vertigo can show up in seconds, or gradually become worse. They can last anywhere from minutes to hours or several days in some conditions.
- Loss of balance, making walking or standing difficult
- Feeling sick or nauseous
- Ringing in the ears
- Abnormal eye movement or twitching
- Hearing loss
Why You Need a Nursing Care Plan for Vertigo
Nursing care plans, or NCP’s, are pertinent to patient care. They include information like patient symptoms, diagnosis, care goals, and evaluations. NCP’s are especially important when multiple nurses are caring for the same patient, so everyone involved is aware of the symptoms and treatment plan. In patients with vertigo, NCP’s are especially vital in finding the root cause of the vertigo symptoms.
Here is an example of a nursing care plan for vertigo, including what to look for and how to prepare.
1. Risk for Falls
In patients with vertigo, there are many fall risk factors. Those include:
- Dizziness or Vertigo
- Impaired balance
- Difficulties hearing
- Confusion or lack of awareness of surroundings
Nursing Interventions for Fall-Risk
If your patient is a fall risk, here is what you need to do.
First, assess the patient for any conditions that can increase the risk of falling, such as medications, balance, change in mental health, and history of falling. Assessing will help determine what fall precautions are needed.
Next, provide the patient with a fall risk wristband to remind other healthcare professionals of their fall precautions. This allows other providers to decipher patients at an increased fall risk
Keep the patient’s bedside clean and clear from objects he/she may hit their head on. This will help avoid further injuries if a fall does happen.
Encourage the patient to call for help and place the call light within reach. You want to prevent the patient from getting out of bed on their own without assistance.
Reduce the fall risk if the patient doesn’t call for help or rolls out of bed by keeping their bed adjacent to the floor or at the lowest position.
Always encourage the patient to move slowly and teach them how long to wait between movements. Remember, sudden movements can trigger dizziness.
Finally, encourage family members to stay with the patient. Reduces their alone-time and time without assistance.
2. Impaired Transfer Ability
Impaired Transfer Ability represents a health problem that may require several different members of a healthcare team. Repeat assessments are important to identify potential worsening in condition.
Here are some of the most important assessments and why you should do them.
- Assess the degree of impairment using the 0-4 level classification: this provides a baseline for the patient.
- Ensure a safe environment by keeping bed rails up, keeping bedside table clear, and maintaining the bed in the lowest position: reduces risks for falls and improves patient safety.
- Don’t rush the patient, allow his/her to move at their own pace: rushing the patient will make his/her more prone to falling.
- Encourage slow movements: sudden movements can trigger dizziness.
- Give medications as ordered: certain drugs will help reduce dizziness as well as other symptoms of vertigo.
Be Prepared With a Nursing Care Plan for Vertigo
Remember, vertigo is a symptom, not a diagnosis. There is almost always an underlying condition causing vertigo in your patient. With a solid Nursing Care Plan and assessment of the patient, a proper diagnosis is highly likely. Take these tips and create your own nursing care plan for vertigo and always stay prepared.
As you keep growing and learning as a nurse, here are some more resources that you’ll enjoy too.
- 7 Benefits of Continuing Education for Nurses
- Are Nurse’s Notes Becoming a Lost Art?
- Evidence Based Practice: Nurses Barriers to Implementation?
Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, & OutcomesNursing Care Plans: Guidelines for Individualizing Client Care Across the Life SpanNursing Care Planning Made Incredibly Easy (Incredibly Easy! Series)Overcoming Positional Vertigo
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