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Pain Management


Mr. Rogers is 2 days postoperative of a thoracotomy for removal of a malignant mass in his left chest. His pain is being managed via an epidural catheter with morphine (an opioid analgesic). As the nurse assumes care of Mr. Rogers, he is alert and fully oriented, and states that his current pain is 2 on a 1-to-10 scale. His vital signs are 37.8 – 92 – 12, 138/82. (Learning Objective 6)

What are benefits of epidural versus systemic administration of opioids?

  1. The nurse monitors Mr. Rogers’ respiratory status and      vital signs every 2 hours. What is the rationale for these frequent      assessments?
  2. The nurse monitors Mr. Rogers for what other      complications of epidural analgesia?
  3. Mr. Rogers complains of a severe headache. What should      the nurse do?
  4. Mr. Rogers’ epidural morphine and decreased mobility      increase his chances of constipation. What interventions should be      included in his plan of care to minimize constipation?

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