A bone scan is a diagnostic test that uses a small amount of radioactive material (tracer) to produce images of the bones. It can help detect various bone diseases and conditions, such as fractures, infections, arthritis, cancer, and more.
A bone scan can provide valuable information for the diagnosis and treatment of bone problems, but it also requires some preparation and care from the nurse and the patient. In this article, we will discuss the nursing interventions related to the scheduled bone scan and explain which one is most important.
Before the Bone Scan
Before the bone scan, the nurse should perform the following interventions:
- Obtain a detailed medical history from the patient, including any previous bone scans, X-rays, or other imaging tests that used contrast agents (such as barium or bismuth). These substances can interfere with the results of the bone scan and should be avoided for at least four days before the test.
- Explain the procedure to the patient and obtain informed consent. The nurse should inform the patient about the purpose, benefits, risks, and limitations of the bone scan. The nurse should also address any questions or concerns that the patient may have.
- Assess the patient for any allergies or contraindications to the tracer or contrast agent (if used). The nurse should also check the patient’s renal function and hydration status, as some tracers or contrast agents can cause kidney damage or dehydration.
- Administer the tracer intravenously and instruct the patient to drink plenty of fluids to help distribute the tracer throughout the body. The nurse should also monitor the patient for any signs of adverse reactions to the tracer, such as nausea, vomiting, rash, itching, or difficulty breathing.
- Instruct the patient to empty their bladder before the scan to reduce the amount of tracer in the urinary system. The nurse should also advise the patient to avoid any metal objects or jewelry that may interfere with the scan.
During the Bone Scan
During the bone scan, the nurse should perform the following interventions:
- Assist the patient in positioning on a table inside a scanner that rotates around their body. The nurse should use straps and pillows to help maintain a comfortable and stable position for the patient.
- Instruct the patient to remain still and breathe normally during the scan. The nurse should also reassure and comfort the patient throughout the procedure, as some patients may feel anxious or claustrophobic inside the scanner.
- Monitor the patient for any changes in vital signs, symptoms, or discomfort during the scan. The nurse should also be alert for any technical problems or emergencies that may occur during the scan.
After the Bone Scan
After the bone scan, the nurse should perform the following interventions:
- Remove any intravenous lines or catheters and apply pressure dressing to prevent bleeding. The nurse should also check for any signs of infection or inflammation at the injection site.
- Instruct the patient to drink plenty of fluids and urinate frequently to flush out any remaining tracer from their body. The nurse should also advise the patient to avoid contact with pregnant women, children, or pets for at least 24 hours after the scan, as they may still emit some radiation.
- Provide education and counseling to the patient about their condition and treatment options. The nurse should explain what to expect from the results of the bone scan and how they will affect their care plan. The nurse should also address any emotional or psychological issues that the patient may have regarding their diagnosis or prognosis.
Which Nursing Intervention is Most Important?
All of these nursing interventions are important for ensuring a safe and effective bone scan procedure. However, if we have to choose one intervention that is most important, it would be providing education and counseling to the patient after the bone scan.
Why is this intervention so important? Because it can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life, satisfaction, compliance, and outcomes.
A bone scan can reveal a lot of information about the patient’s bone health, but it can also raise a lot of questions and concerns. The patient may feel anxious, confused, scared, angry, or depressed about their condition or treatment options. They may also have misconceptions or misinformation about their diagnosis or prognosis.
The nurse has a vital role in providing accurate, clear, and empathetic information and guidance to the patient after the bone scan. The nurse can help the patient understand their condition and treatment options, as well as the benefits, risks, and alternatives. The nurse can also help the patient cope with their emotions and fears, and provide support and referrals to other resources if needed.
By providing education and counseling to the patient after the bone scan, the nurse can help the patient make informed decisions about their care, improve their adherence to their treatment plan, enhance their satisfaction with their care, and ultimately improve their outcomes and quality of life.
A bone scan is a useful diagnostic test that can help detect various bone diseases and conditions. However, it also requires some preparation and care from the nurse and the patient. The nurse should perform several interventions before, during, and after the bone scan to ensure a safe and effective procedure. Among these interventions, providing education and counseling to the patient after the bone scan is most important, as it can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life, satisfaction, compliance, and outcomes.