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Disorders of Consciousness
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The person may be cared for at home after he or she is discharged. Anyone caring for the person will be taught physical and mental care routines, and what to do in an emergency. His or her level of consciousness may be checked regularly.
Call the person's doctor if:
- You see signs of a pressure injury or infection on his or her skin.
- You have questions or concerns about his or her condition or care.
Care for the person at home:
The care needed will depend on the kind of DoC and the effects it caused. The person may still be affected by the DoC or may be in emergence. Healthcare providers will help you understand the kind of care the person needs:
- Set up medical equipment if needed. The person may need medical equipment, such as a hospital bed that adjusts, or a lift device. He or she may need a wheelchair or walker, or grab bars installed through the home.
- Help give the person mental activity. Mental activity includes playing music for the person and letting him or her hear family and friends talking.
- Learn how to care for the person's physical needs. You can learn how to use and care for certain kinds of equipment. An example is a feeding tube used to give medicine or nutrition. You may also be able to learn bowel or bladder care.
- Do range of motion exercises, if directed. Providers can teach you how to move the person's arms and legs to prevent stiff joints and muscles.
- Help prevent pressure injuries. A pressure injury is a sore that develops when pressure builds in one area. You may need to put foam cushions under the person to prevent pressure injuries. Regular movement will also prevent pressure from building in one place.
- Prevent infections. Providers can show you how to clean the person's skin and mouth to prevent infections and other health problems. They will also teach you how to care for any medical equipment the person uses. Wash your hands before and after you care for the person or his or her medical equipment.
Follow up with the person's doctor as directed:
He or she may need ongoing tests or procedures. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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