comfort and gas exchange

Other Drugs: Antipyretics, antitussives, and analgesics are prescribed as needed. Oral narcotics may be given to reduce the respiratory rate and control anxiety, thereby improving comfort and gas exchange.


Patients with PCP infection are often weak and debilitated. They may become short of breath even when speaking, and their dyspnea is severe. Discuss your concerns with the physician if the patient remains uncomfortable. Alterations in the medication regimen may be necessary. Position the patient so that he or she is comfortable and breathes with as little effort as possible. Usually, if you elevate the bed and support the patient's arms on pillows, the respiration eases. A major nursing responsibility is to coordinate periods of activity and rest. Schedule diagnostic tests and patient care activities with ample rest periods between them. As the patient gains strength, encourage coughing and deep-breathing exercises, and teach him or her how to perform incentive spirometry. Evaluate the patient's gait, and if it is steady, encourage periods of ambulation interspersed with periods of rest.

Reduce the patient's anxiety by providing a restful environment, including diversional activities. Teach the patient guided imaging or relaxation techniques for nonpharmaco-logic relief of discomfort. Provide time each day to allow the patient to ask questions and explore fears. Include the family and significant others in all teaching activities as appropriate.

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