Nursing Care of the Client with Abdominal Trauma
Nursing care of the patient with blunt abdominal trauma begins with an assessment of the abdomen. The abdominal assessment is often less than effective due to the often subtle signs and symptoms and the other distracting injuries a patient may have. Observe the abdomen for contusions, abrasions and distension or penetrating wounds. Consider that wounds above the umbilicus could have thoracic implications. Auscultate for bowel sounds and bruits. Absent bowels sounds should be considered in conjunction with other assessment data. Bruits may indicate injury to a great vessel, liver or spleen. Assess for guarding or rigidity, keeping in mind the older adult often has more subtle signs of peritoneal irritation than their younger counterparts.