Nurses care for a patient on a ventilator by providing a communication board and other writing tools that allow the patient to convey her thoughts, asking simple questions that are answerable by nodding or shaking the head and checking her vital signs and pain and anxiety levels, reports American Nurse Today. Family members may talk to the patient normally, show affection by touching her hand, and bring approved items such as pillows, suggests University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
When entering the patient's room, a nurse ensures proper adjustment of ventilator settings, checks oxygen saturation, monitors the patient's breathing sounds and takes note of any changes in condition, states American Nurse Today. It's important to check the hospital's procedure manual to review suctioning recommendations.
Nurses use a reliable scale to assess a patient's pain levels and administer proper sedation levels, notes American Nurse Today. When a patient shows signs of anxiousness, the presence of relatives and loved ones, gentle communication, physical touch and music can make her feel better.
When it's time to wean the patient from a ventilator, nurses should regularly evaluate the patient's condition and reduce the use of the machine gradually over the weeks, recommends American Nurse Today. Active participation of family members in the care plan and full effort involving a team of medical staff are essential in caring for a patient who relies on a ventilator.