NurseSim

Performing Neurovascular Observations

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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)
  • infection
  • 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.
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