Nursing Care of Patients with Traction -Traction is a method used in orthopedic care to treat fractures, dislocations, and other skeletal injuries. It involves the application of a pulling force on the affected bone or joint to realign the bones and promote healing. Nursing care of patients with traction is an essential aspect of their recovery process.
Nursing Care of Patients with Traction
In this article, we will discuss the nursing care of patients with traction, including the different types of traction, nursing interventions, and possible complications.
What is Traction?
Traction is a medical procedure that involves the application of a pulling force to a limb or part of the body to help stabilize and treat various orthopedic conditions. The purpose of traction is to reduce pain, improve alignment, and promote healing.
Types of Traction
There are two main types of traction: skin traction and skeletal traction. Skin traction is applied directly to the skin, while skeletal traction is applied using pins, wires, or tongs that are inserted into the bone.
Skin traction is used to align and immobilize a fractured bone or joint. It is often used as a temporary measure until skeletal traction can be applied. The two main types of skin traction are Buck’s traction and Russell’s traction.
Buck’s traction is applied to the lower extremities to immobilize and realign fractures of the femur or tibia. It involves applying a pulling force to the leg using a boot or a wrap around the ankle. Buck’s traction is often used for preoperative or postoperative care.
Russell’s traction is used to immobilize and realign fractures of the femur or hip. It involves applying a pulling force to the leg using a sling or a wrap around the knee. Russell’s traction is often used for patients who are not candidates for surgery.
Skeletal traction is used to align and immobilize a fractured bone or joint using pins, wires, or tongs that are inserted into the bone. There are two main types of skeletal traction: Crutchfield tongs and Halo traction.
Crutchfield tongs are used to immobilize and realign fractures of the cervical spine. They are inserted into the skull and provide a pulling force to the spine. Crutchfield tongs are often used for patients who require prolonged immobilization.
Halo traction is used to immobilize and realign fractures of the cervical spine or upper thoracic spine. It involves the insertion of pins into the skull and the application of a pulling force using a halo device. Halo traction is often used for patients who require prolonged immobilization or surgery.
Indications for Traction Application
Traction is used to treat a wide range of orthopedic conditions, including:
- Muscle spasms
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Assessment of patients with traction is essential to identify potential complications and intervene promptly. Nursing assessment should include neurovascular assessment and skin assessment.
Neurovascular assessment involves monitoring the patient’s neurological and vascular status. Nurses should assess the patient’s sensation, movement, and pulses distal to the traction site. Any changes in these parameters should be reported immediately to the healthcare provider.
Skin assessment involves monitoring the patient’s skin integrity and identifying any signs of irritation, redness, or breakdown. Nurses should assess the traction site and surrounding skin for any pressure points or areas of discomfort.
Nursing interventions for patients with traction aim to promote comfort, prevent complications, and facilitate healing.
Proper positioning is essential to prevent contractures and pressure ulcers. Patients with traction should be repositioned every two hours, and their skin should be inspected for any signs of pressure sores.
Skincare is crucial for patients with skin traction to prevent skin breakdown and irritation. Nurses should clean the skin around the traction site with soap and water, and moisturize it with lotion to keep it soft and supple.
Patients with traction may experience pain and discomfort. Pain management strategies may include the use of analgesics, heat or cold therapy, and relaxation techniques.
Nutrition and Hydration
Patients with traction require adequate nutrition and hydration to promote healing. Nurses should ensure that the patient is receiving a balanced diet and enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
Range of Motion Exercises
Range of motion exercises is important to prevent joint stiffness and muscle atrophy. Patients with traction should perform exercises as instructed by their healthcare provider.
Complications associated with traction may include infection, pressure sores, and joint stiffness.
Patients with skeletal traction are at risk of developing an infection at the pin insertion site. Nurses should monitor the patient for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and drainage.
Pressure sores may develop at the traction site or other pressure points. Nurses should ensure that the patient is repositioned frequently and that their skin is inspected regularly.
Joint stiffness may occur if the patient does not perform a range of motion exercises as instructed. Nurses should encourage patients to perform exercises and report any signs of joint stiffness to their healthcare provider.
Traction Application in Nursing Management
Traction application in nursing management requires a skilled and experienced nurse to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort. Before applying traction, the nurse must perform a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition and obtain informed consent.
Preparation for Traction Application
Preparation for traction application includes the following steps:
- Explain the procedure to the patient and ensure they understand the risks and benefits.
- Gather all necessary equipment, including traction devices, ropes, pulleys, and weights.
- Administer pain medication or sedation as needed.
- Position the patient in a comfortable and stable position.
The process of applying traction involves the following steps:
- Clean the skin or surgical site using an antiseptic solution.
- Apply the traction device to the affected limb or body part.
- Attach ropes or pulleys to the traction device.
- Add weights to the ropes or pulleys, according to the prescribed amount of force.
- Monitor the patient’s vital signs and assess for any signs of discomfort or complications.
Monitoring and Care
After applying traction, the nurse must monitor the patient’s condition and provide ongoing care. This includes the following:
- Monitor the patient’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.
- Assess the patient’s pain level and administer pain medication as needed.
- Monitor the traction device and ensure it remains intact and in the correct position.
- Assist the patient with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and using the bathroom.
- Educate the patient and family members about proper care and maintenance of the traction device.
Conclusion -Nursing Care of Patients with Traction
Nursing care of patients with traction is essential to promote healing and prevent complications. Nurses should assess the patient’s neurological and vascular status, monitor the skin around the traction site, and intervene promptly to prevent complications.
FAQs -Nursing Care of Patients with Traction
How long does traction usually last?
The length of traction depends on the severity and location of the injury. It can range from a few days to several weeks or months.
Can traction be painful?
Patients may experience pain and discomfort during traction. Pain management strategies can help alleviate the discomfort.
How often should patients with traction be repositioned?
Patients with traction should be repositioned every two hours to prevent pressure sores.
How can nurses prevent infection in patients with skeletal traction?
Nurses should monitor the patient for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and drainage, and ensure that the pin insertion site is clean and dry.