Medical Surgical Tonsillitis #5

Question

The nurse is providing discharge planning to the spouse of a client who is status post-tonsillectomy. When offering suggestions for pain management at home, which statement by the nurse is correct? Select all that apply.

Answers

  1. “Wait until your spouse complains of pain before administering the pain medication.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because pain is better managed when scheduled. Scheduling the time pain medicine is given, and giving it regularly, helps prevent breakthrough pain. Waiting until pain is experienced, will make it more difficult to control the pain.

  2. “Apply cold packs to your spouse’s neck with a cloth barrier for 10 minutes.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because cold packs reduce swelling. Pain is caused by inflammation and swelling. When applying cold packs, make sure there is a cloth barrier to prevent damage to the skin.

  3. “When using a syringe to give meds, squirt the medicine in the middle of the mouth.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because aiming the medicine into the middle of the mouth can cause gagging and it will also be easier to spit out the medicine. Squirt the liquid medication along the inside of the cheek. This is called buccal administration and when given this way, the medication diffuses through the oral mucosa, entering the bloodstream, and taking effect more quickly.

  4. “Run a cool mist humidifier and change the water once a day.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because a humidifier keeps the mucous membranes moist and decreases throat dryness. Dryness causes more throat pain. When the throat is dry, it has less saliva. Opiorphin is a peptide found in saliva that provides an analgesic effect.

  5. “Have your spouse eat or drink cold foods and fluids every hour.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because staying hydrated keeps the throat from becoming dry and painful. Eating or drinking cold foods and fluids can help reduce inflammation in the throat that is causing pain also. Two to three ounces per hour of cold foods like popsicles and cold liquids is suggested.

Overview

Pain and discomfort is common after a tonsillectomy. By counseling the spouse/caregiver on home pain management, the nurse reduces the concern and stress that home pain management can cause.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Managing pain is one of the most important interventions a nurse will provide. Helping the client manage their pain by creating a regular schedule of meds for pain relief and providing non-pharmacological pain relief suggestions is most beneficial for the client’s comfort level. Pain and discomfort are common after a tonsillectomy. Scheduling the time pain medicine is given, and giving it regularly, will keep pain under better control. Cold packs decrease inflammation and swelling, which are causes of pain. Administering liquid medication buccally, takes effect quicker. Keeping the throat and oral mucosa moist helps with pain because saliva is a natural painkiller.

Test Taking Tip

Managing pain is one of the most important interventions a nurse will provide. Helping the client manage their pain by creating a regular schedule of meds for pain relief and providing non-pharmacological pain relief suggestions is most beneficial for the client’s comfort level.

Video Rationale