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Prevent Infection in Hospitalized Neutropenic patients with Cancer - Speech or Presentation Example

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The Role of the Nurse in Preventing Infection in Hospitalized Neutropenic Cancer Patients Due to the nature of cancer treatments and their effect on the immune system, oncology patients are at high risk for infection. These patients often become neutropenic, or lacking in neutrophils, which are the disease-fighting white blood cells vital to the immune system (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010)…
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Prevent Infection in Hospitalized Neutropenic patients with Cancer
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Download file to see previous pages The most common source of infection in hospitalized cancer patients is the central venous catheter, or CVC. Nurses must be meticulous in their hygiene when administering a CVC, starting with hand-washing and clean or sterile gloves, and also ensure that the insertion site is sterilized. However, topical antibiotic creams should not be used, as they tend to encourage fungal infection. Dressing should be changed regularly, as well as whenever they become visibly dirty (Zitella, 2010). As always, the nursing staff must ensure that all medical devices intended for internal use are sterile, especially catheters (Hachem et al., 2009). The most important thing a nurse, or for that matter, anyone, can do to prevent patient infection is hand hygiene (Friese, 2007). Nurses and other clinicians should wash their hands before contact with any patient and between each patient. Also, outpatients should be taught proper hand-washing technique to ensure they do not carry bacteria and viruses into the hospital to infect the admitted patients, and to protect the outpatients themselves from outside infections (Zitella, 2010). Another method of hygiene that patients undergoing cancer treatment should follow to protect them from infection is tooth and mouth care. Tooth and mouth care helps stop colonization of the soft palate and gums with Streptococcal bacteria. Patients should brush their teeth at least three times daily using toothpaste and an extra soft toothbrush to prevent scratches on the gums and tongue. Additionally, some benefit may be gained from the use of a clorhexidine mouth rinse at each tooth brushing session, though studies suggest that this step is not always required (Antunes et al., 2010). Patients have historically been prescribed a low-microbial diet to avoid infection from fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if general food safety practices are followed, avoiding fresh produce does not seem to confer any major health benefit to oncology patients. Such neutropenic patients should not eat uncooked fish as in the form of sushi, raw or undercooked eggs, or any unwashed produce (Zitella, 2010). For nearly every neutropenic patient, however, there will come a time when preventative measures fail and infection with fever becomes present. When this occurs, it is vital that the patient's nursing staff is aware of the severity of this issue. The patient must be treated immediately with broad, global antibiotics to combat the infection. For these patients, infection with gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria can be equally as harmful, and so any neutrophenic patient presenting with a fever should be treated the same way (Freifeld et al., 2011). Neutrophenic immune-compromised patients should also receive an influenza vaccine, as the risk of death or serious illness from influenza outweighs the possibility of risk from the vaccine itself. For these patients, an inactivated vaccine is safest. The administration of the vaccine should be timed carefully between rounds of chemotherapy treatments, as the reduced immune system of the patients can lead to a reduced reaction to the vaccine. Since the vaccine may not be as effective in protecting these patients as it would be in protecting healthy persons, nurses must be aware that the patient may still be susceptible to influenza. Precautions should include all ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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