2-24. NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
a. A patient who is unconscious is normally fed and medicated by gavage.
Always observe the patient carefully when administering anything by
Do not leave the patient unattended while gavage feeding.
(3) Keep accurate records of all intake. (Feeding formula, water, liquid
(4) When gavage feeding an unconscious patient, it is best to place the
patient in a sitting position (Fowler's or semi-Fowlers) and support with pillows.
(a) This permits gravity to help move the feeding or medication.
(b) The chance of aspiration of feeding into the airway is reduced.
b. Fluids are maintained by IV therapy.
Keep accurate records of IV intake and urine output.
Observe the patient for signs of dehydration or fluid overload.
2-25. SKIN CARE
a. The unconscious patient should be given a complete bath every other day.
(This prevents drying of the skin.) The patient's face and perineal area should be
The skin should be lubricated with moisturizing lotion after bathing.
The nails should be kept short, as many patients will scratch
b. Provide oral hygiene at least twice per shift. Include the tongue, all tooth
surfaces, and all soft tissue areas. The unconscious patient is often a mouth breather.
This causes saliva to dry and adhere to the mouth and tooth surfaces.
(1) Always have suction apparatus immediately available when giving
mouth care to the unconscious patient.