Jennifer Bowden joins Facebook live to discuss scoliosis FAQs.

Jun 22, 2018 / Scoliosis & Spine

#SRHaccess Facebook LIVE Recap: Scoliosis FAQs

In honor of Scoliosis Awareness Month, clinical manager Jennifer Bowden, R.N., joined us on Facebook LIVE to discuss the most frequently asked questions about scoliosis. Below is a recap of the conversation.

Watch the live segment. 

What is the difference between an ambulatory care and inpatient nurse?
  • An ambulatory care nurse, also known as clinic nurse, is the nurse a patient will see when he or she has a clinic visit. 
  • An inpatient nurse takes care of the patient once out of surgery.
At an initial appointment for scoliosis, what can a patient expect? 
  • The patient is seen by their doctor and clinic nurse. They could also be evaluated by a physician’s assistant or fellow/resident. 
  • If the patient does not have X-rays on file, it is possible that they may be sent to radiology to have those taken. 
  • The doctor will complete a clinical exam to check for scoliosis.
  • Depending on the outcome of the clinical exam, X-rays are checked if there are concerns regarding a potential curve in the back. 
  • The doctor will give the patient a time frame of when he or she needs to come back for another visit. 
Scoliosis Surgery 
Who do the parents contact if they have questions about surgery?
  • Clinic nurse
  • Families are encouraged to call with any questions they may have at any time. 
  • Our staff encourage parents/patients to write down any and all questions. 
  • If a parent would like to contact someone at the hospital during the night or weekend, they can call the main number at 214-559-5000 to be connected with a nurse on the inpatient unit.
While a patient is in surgery, where does the parent/guardian wait?
  • Patient will be assigned a room on the inpatient unit - parents can wait in that room.
  • Surgery waiting area is on the 4th floor – quiet and away from hustle and bustle
  • Cafeteria – on the C level by the A elevators
  • While the patient is in surgery, the parent/guardian must stay inside the hospital at all times. 
  • Each parent/guardian is given a pager to be notified/updated regarding the progress of the surgery. 
Most common updates during surgery
  • It takes about an hour to get the patient prepped before surgery actually begins.
  • The parent/guardian is updated when the surgery actually begins.
  • Updates come every one to two hours
  • Parents are notified when the patient is being closed up. 
  • When the surgery is complete, the surgeon will call and speak to the parent. 
What does the admission process for spine surgery look like?
  • Most spine patients check into the hospital the day before surgery.
  • Labs and X-rays are taken, if needed
  • Clinical photos are taken so that the patient can remember what he or she looked like before the surgery.  
  • The patient and their family are able to meet their care team:
    • Inpatient nurse
    • If needed, a child life specialist and physical/occupational therapist
    • OR nurse
    • Anesthesiologist
What happens after surgery?
  • The patient will be in recovery (PACU) for half an hour to an hour or longer.
  • Once the patient is awake and the breathing tube is removed, the parents are called to see their child in recovery. 
  • Parents are escorted to the patient’s room and the recovery nurse will take the patient to their room.
  • Recovery nurse will give the inpatient nurse a report on the child.
Who is the patient seeing after surgery?
  • Inpatient nurse
  • Patient care techs
  • Doctors
  • Residents and fellows
Pain management after surgery
  • Education on pain takes place before surgery
  • Really sore and still after surgery – the nurse teaches the patient how to assess their pain
Will the patient wake up during surgery?
  • No, the patient is fully asleep during surgery.
  • Anesthesia is given to the patient to keep them asleep
  • The patient's spinal cord wil be monitored throughout the duration of the surgery. 
Movement after surgery
  • Physical or occupational therapy can be part of the process after surgery, if needed.
  • Nurses help patients get out of bed.
  • The nurse will teach the patient how to roll over, prop themselves up and turn over.
  • The care taker at home will also be taught how to help the patient get out of bed and move around safely. 
Going home after surgery
  • Pain is under control
  • Incision looks good
  • Patient is up and moving
  • Eating and drinking – no vomiting
  • Bowel movement in the hospital – biggest problem after this surgery is constipation and gut issues
The drive home from the hospital: Is there a certain set up needed in the car? 
  • Every patient is different
  • Take pain medication close to when departing the hospital 
  • Most patients like to recline in the car seat versus sitting up straight.
  • The nurse will help the patient down to the car and will make sure they are safely situated inside the car. 
  • Every hour to two hours, we recommend the patient to get up and move/change positions.
Specific bed set up at home
  • No restrictions on the bed setup at home
  • If the bed is upstairs, recommend sleeping somewhere downstairs
  • No hospital bed is necessary
  • Some patients like being in a recliner, instead of lying flat
Incision care
  • Nurses educate parent/guardian on how to change the dressing covering the incision. 
  • No creams or lotions on the incision until told by your doctor.
  • A nurse will provide the parent with supplies to change the dressing. 
  • No soaking the incision, showers only – do not want the incision under water because it could cause an infection
  • After shower, remove the dressing, pat area dry and then apply a new dressing
Will the patient have a scar from surgery?
  • Yes, a long and thin scar down the middle of their back. 
  • If well taken care of, it will flatten out and look like a faint pencil mark down the middle of the patient’s back.
  • For at least two years after surgery, it is recommended that the scar be covered with sunscreen or a shirt when out in the sun.

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