Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops when a person has been exposed to a serious situation such as a natural disaster, serious accident, death of a loved one or life-threatening event. This condition causes debilitating symptoms that, depending on the severity, can negatively affect relationships, communication and daily activities. PTSD affects all ages from childhood to senior adult and symptoms may flare up without any known trigger. Aside from emotional difficulty, clients may experience physical manifestations such as chronic pain and headaches and can lead to drinking and drug addictions as well as physical abuse.
Client will be able to identify triggers. Client will learn and utilize positive coping strategies. Client will demonstrate control of emotions and relaxation techniques. Client will be free from injury.
Assess vitals and perform nursing assessment
Determine baseline for vitals and assess for underlying or accompanying medical conditions
Assess client for suicidal or homicidal ideations
To ensure safety of the client and others.
Assess anxiety level
Determine severity of condition and course of treatment or therapy
Establish trust with the client
Especially when a client has a high level of anxiety, establishing trust can help the client calm down and make treatment more effective
Provide extra time for care and allow client extra time to respond to questions
Clients often have difficulty communicating due to racing thoughts or inability to concentrate. Avoid rushing the client and allow them more time to answer or respond to promote security and instill a sense of value.
Encourage client to express emotions in a safe environment
Allows the client the freedom to acknowledge their feelings and release any repressed emotions that may be exacerbating their distress. A safe environment should be free from actual or perceived judgement and physical or perceived danger.
Encourage client to verbally identify current ineffective coping techniques
Helps the client understand their current behaviors that may be preventing effective healing or treatment.
Encourage client to write about the traumatic event
Allows provider to better understand the nature of the client’s condition and anticipate triggers that may cause symptoms. Also allows client and provider to periodically review evolution of emotions toward the traumatic event
Encourage client to keep a journal of stressors and emotional reactions to those stressors
Helps client identify triggers that prompt anxiety or symptoms and evaluate the outcomes of those reactions.
Teach visualization and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and imagery
Helps client learn to manage anxiety that accompanies flashbacks or environmental stressors and triggers
Administer medications appropriately and monitor for side effects or dependance
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are antidepressants that have proven to be effective for chronic management of symptoms.
Provide calming and reassuring environment
Clients with PTSD are often fearful. Providing a calm, relaxing environment can help lessen or relieve anxiety and promote a feeling of safety.
Facilitate access to community resources using Case Manager or Social Worker
Support groups and other community resources such as service animals, etc., can provide support that the client needs to function in their daily lives.
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