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Weight Loss In Acute Care

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A crucial part of saving lives in acute care involves administering life saving medications. These medications can range from TPA for strokes, Heparin for acute myocardial infarctions and even just regular intravenous fluids to treat severe septic shock. In order to administer these medications safely and adequately, a nurse is required to know his/her patient weight. Having an accurate weight will ensure that the patient is receiving the adequate amount of medication necessary to save their life. An inaccurate weight can either result in inadequate medication or maybe even an overdose of medication. Either one of these can result in devastating effects for the patient. Working in the Emergency room, it is sometimes difficult to obtain accurate…show more content…
On one hand, the “straight to the back” approach in order to decrease door to doc times prevents the medics from weighing the patient upon arrival to the ED. Although there are two standing scales in the triage area where objective weights can be obtained, patients are usually not there for more than a couple minutes before they are whisked to the main ED. Once the patient is in their room, they are connected to the monitor making it difficult for them to get back up and go outside for an accurate weight. Although there are also stretchers with scales on them for those patients that are bedridden, they are often not calibrated before the patient is placed on the bed. This can also lead to inaccurate readings. Further more, not all the stretchers have scales on them; unfortunately this often lands a Stroke Alert patient on a stretcher that does not have a scale. This only adds more stress by having the nurse switch the patient to another stretcher in order to obtain an accurate weight before they give TPA. Even with the correct equipment, obtaining accurate weights in the ED is often an obstacle. As ED nurses are often flexible and willing to improvise, educating the staff and changing the location of the equipment might make obtaining accurate weights more feasible. A rolling scale may also make it easier to have the patient weighed once they are already in the room. Education on making the patient’s weight a 6th vital sign will ensure everyone is on the same page and understanding that an underestimation or overestimation of a patient’s weight may have a less favorable impact on their
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