Completing our series on headache, this post discusses the Nursing Interventions for the patient with a complaint of headache.
Nursing Interventions for the Patient with The Complaint of Headache
Conduct a thorough history and physical on the patient.
Contact a provider if any of your findings are outside expected parameters.
If the patient’s physical evaluation is unremarkable, then medicate per your Nursing Protocol with Tylenol/Ibuprofen.
Conduct patient education to include actions to ease the pain, such as cool cloths to the forehead; description and side effects of any prescription medication ordered by the Provider; cautions to take medication only as directed (DO NOT take more medication or more frequently than instructed); the importance of maintaining good hydration; what RED FLAGS or changes in condition require immediate reporting to healthcare staff; and the importance of keeping a headache diary in which the patient should document all headaches (date, time and symptoms), actions prior to the pain, and what helped/made the pain worse. Verify that the patient understands all education provided and document the encounter in the health record.
In conjunction with your custody colleagues, consider moving your patient with a headache to a room with low stimulation. Schedule the patient for a follow-up Nursing Sick Call appointment in 24 hours to monitor his/her/their condition and instruct the patient to contact medical right away if the pain becomes worse, or changes in some way (intensity, location, duration, etc.).
This series of posts about headache is based upon The Correctional Nurse Educator class entitled Headache for the Correctional Nurse.
Please share your experiences caring for patients with a complaint of headache in our comments section below.