4-16. GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM
Normal Function of the Gastrointestinal System. Regaining normal
function of the gastrointestinal system as soon as possible is very important. The
following nursing implications also apply to the patient who has had abdominal surgery.
Report to the Charge Nurse if the patient complains of abdominal
Ask the patient if he has "passed gas" within 24 hours of return to the
ward from the recovery room.
Auscultate for bowel sounds and report assessment to the Charge
Provide the patient with a quiet environment in a private bathroom so
he feels comfortable expelling flatus.
Encourage the patient to take warm or hot liquids and solids rather
than cold, if he is not NPO. Warm or hot liquids help to reduce distention.
Ambulate the patient to assist peristalsis.
Administer medications or enema as ordered by the physician if
nursing measures are not effective in relieving abdominal distention. Both treatments
will facilitate peristalsis and relieve distention.
Tell the patient to report his first postoperative bowel movement to
Record patient's bowel movement on Intake and Output (I & O) Work
Document nursing measures and results in the Nurse's Notes.
NOTE: Last measures to reduce abdominal distention may require the insertion of a
nasogastric (N/G) tube or use of a rectal tube.