Anxiety

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Anxiety experienced post-operatively can be due to an actual or perceived threat to self-concept, an actual or perceived loss of a significant other, a threat to one’s role function, the unknown.

To help alleviate anxiety seen in patients, the nurse can:

  • Assess the level of anxiety – on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least and 10 being the most. 1_______2_______3_______4_______5_______6_______7_______8_______9_______10
  • Refrain from making demands or asking the patient to make decisions.
  • Support the present coping mechanisms.
  • Decrease sensory stimulation.
  • Focus on the here and now. Set short-term goals.
  • Limit contacts with others that are anxious.
  • Teach anxiety interrupters — control breathing, lower shoulders, slow thoughts or teach patient to “stop” any repetitive thoughts, guided imagery, change perspective — imagine watching situation from a distance.
  • Communicate clearly and simply. Ensure consistent information is provided to nursing/team.
  • Allow patient ample opportunities to express feelings – listening to patient is more important than offering advice. Consult with Enterostomal Therapy Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Social Worker, Psychiatry as needed.
  • Consult physician for possible pharmacological therapy if verbal interventions are ineffective.


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