Brain Injury:

Supportive Care Concerns

The medical staff providing supportive care for an unconscious individual is highly trained and understands how to care for TBI patients. TBI patients are monitored with equipment for breathing, heart rhythm, blood pressure, pulse and intracranial pressure.

If the unconscious individual cannot breathe on his or her own the airway will be maintained and his or her breathing will occur though special tubes that help maintain oxygen in the blood.

After head trauma, seizures can occur.  Dilantin is the usual medication administered through the IV to prevent seizures. A tetanus shot also may be given.

Fluid is administered through the IV for nutrition and liquid as well. The unconscious person cannot eat or drink on his or her own. The need for nutritional support using parenteral (IV) or enteral solutions (a tube placed in the stomach) is determined by a registered dietician and the doctor. A urinary catheter is put in the bladder for urine collection. The individual is not aware of the need to use the bathroom.

It is important to maintain the unconscious patient's blood pressure through IV fluid and medication and the blood pressure range should be close to 90/70.

The patient is turned and positioned in bed to prevent bedsores because most unconscious people cannot move independently. The patient may also have a compression device wrapped around the legs that resembles a plastic tub mat. This device prevents blood clots.  Daily injections are also given to prevent blood clots.

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