Performing Neurovascular Observations
Neurovascular observations allow for a thorough and systematic assessment of a client’s neurovascular status. Neurovascular observation will be performed on an affected limb; this may involve client’s arm/hand or leg/foot.
Indications for neurovascular observations include:
- pre and post application of POP (plaster of Paris) or splint (including back slab)
- pre and post limb surgery
- fracture management (with or without traction)
- trauma to limb
- leg ulcer(s)
- burns, particularly circumferential
- changes in pain.
Subtle changes in the neurovascular status alert staff to changes in the blood circulation and nerve supply of a limb and the potential development of compartment syndrome in case of limb trauma/surgery.
The frequency of when and how often these observations need to be performed are guided by the:
- client’s history and assessment
- doctor’s instructions
- organisation’s policy and guidelines.