Mar 1, 2011

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease involving connective tissue and characterized by destruction and proliferation of the synovial membrane, resulting in joint destruction, ankylosis, and deformity. Although the cause is unknown, researchers speculate that a virus may initially trigger the body’s immune response, which then becomes chronically activated and turns on itself (autoimmune response). Immunologic mechanisms appear to play an important role in the initiation and perpetuation of the disease in which spontaneous remissions and unpredictable exacerbations occur. RA is a disorder of the immune system and, as such, is a whole-body disease that can extend beyond the joints, affecting other organ systems, such as the skin and eyes.

CARE SETTING

Community level unless surgical procedure is required.

RELATED CONCERNS

Psychosocial aspects of care

Total joint replacement

Patient Assessment Database

Data depend on severity and involvement of other organs (e.g., eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys), stage (i.e., acute exacerbation or remission), and coexistence of other forms of arthritis/autoimmune diseases.

ACTIVITY/REST

May report: Joint pain and tenderness worsened by movement and stress placed on joint; morning stiffness (duration often l hr or more), usually occurs symmetrically

Functional limitations affecting ADLs, desired lifestyle, leisure time, and occupation

Fatigue; sleep disturbances

May exhibit: Malaise

Impaired ROM of joints; particularly hand (fingers and wrist), hips, knees, ankles, elbows, and shoulders

Muscle atrophy; joint and muscle contractures/deformities

Decreased muscle strength, altered gait/posture

CARDIOVASCULAR

May report: Intermittent pallor, cyanosis, then redness of fingers/toes before color returns to normal (Raynaud’s phenomenon)

EGO INTEGRITY

May report: Acute/chronic stress factors (e.g., financial, employment, disability, relationship factors)

Hopelessness and powerlessness (incapacitating situation)

Threat to self-concept, body image, personal identity (e.g., dependence on others)

FOOD/FLUID

May report: Inability to obtain/consume adequate food/fluids (temporomandibular joint [TMJ] involvement)

Anorexia, nausea

May exhibit: Weight loss

Dryness of oral mucous membranes, decreased oral secretions; dental caries (Sj√∂gren’s syndrome)

HYGIENE

May report: Varying difficulty performing self-care activities; dependence on others

NEUROSENSORY

May report: Numbness/tingling of hands and feet, loss of sensation in fingers

May exhibit: Symmetrical joint swelling

PAIN/DISCOMFORT

May report: Acute episodes of pain (may/may not be accompanied by soft-tissue swelling in joints)

Chronic aching pain and stiffness (mornings are most difficult)

May exhibit: Red, swollen, hot joints (during acute exacerbations)

SAFETY

May report: Difficulty managing homemaker/maintenance tasks

Persistent low-grade fever

Dryness of eyes and mucous membranes

May exhibit: Pale, shiny, taut skin; subcutaneous rounded, nontender nodules; lesions, leg ulcers

Skin/periarticular local warmth, erythema

Decreased muscle strength, altered gait, reduced ROM

Sexuality

May report: Deficulty engaging in sexual activity as desired/abstinence

SOCIAL INTERACTION

May report: Impaired interactions with family/others; change in roles; isolation

TEACHING/LEARNING

May report: Familial history of RA (in juvenile onset)

Usual onset between ages 25 and 50, ratio of women to men 3:1

Use of health foods, vitamins, untested arthritis “cures”

History of pericarditis, valvular lesions; pulmonary fibrosis, pleuritis

Discharge plan DRG projected mean length of inpatient stay: 5.4 days

considerations: May require assistance with transportation, self-care activities, and homemaker/maintenance tasks; changes in physical layout of home

Refer to section at end of plan for postdischarge considerations.

DIAGNOSTIC STUDIES

Antinuclear antibody (ANA) titer: Screening test for rheumatic disorders, elevated in 25%–30% of RA patients. Follow-up tests are needed for the specific rheumatic disorders, e.g., anti-RNP is used for differential diagnosis of systemic rheumatic disease.

Rheumatoid factor (RF): Positive in more than 80% of cases (Rose-Waaler test).

Latex fixation: Positive in 75% of typical cases.

Agglutination reactions: Positive in more than 50% of typical cases.

Serum complement: C3 and C4 increased in acute onset (inflammatory response). Immune disorder/exhaustion results in depressed total complement levels.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): Usually greatly increased (80–100 mm/hr). May return to normal as symptoms improve.

CBC: Usually reveals moderate anemia. WBC is elevated when inflammatory processes are present.

Immunoglobulin (Ig) (IgM and IgG): Elevation strongly suggests autoimmune process as cause for RA.

X-rays of involved joints: Reveals soft-tissue swelling, erosion of joints, and osteoporosis of adjacent bone (early changes) progressing to bone-cyst formation, narrowing of joint space, and subluxation. Concurrent osteoarthritic changes may be noted.

Radionuclide scans: Identify inflamed synovium.

Direct arthroscopy: Visualization of area reveals bone irregularities/degeneration of joint.

Synovial/fluid aspirate: May reveal volume greater than normal; opaque, cloudy, yellow appearance (inflammatory response, bleeding, degenerative waste products); elevated levels of WBCs and leukocytes; decreased viscosity and complement (C3 and C4).

Synovial membrane biopsy: Reveals inflammatory changes and development of pannus (inflamed synovial granulation tissue).

NURSING PRIORITIES

1. Alleviate pain.

2. Increase mobility.

3. Promote positive self-concept.

4. Support independence.

5. Provide information about disease process/prognosis and treatment needs.

DISCHARGE GOALS

1. Pain relieved/controlled.

2. Patient is dealing realistically with current situation.

3. Patient is managing ADLs by self/with assistance as appropriate.

4. Disease process/prognosis and therapeutic regimen understood.

5. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Pain, acute/chronic

May be related to

Injuring agents: distension of tissues by accumulation of fluid/inflammatory process, destruction of joint

Possibly evidenced by

Reports of pain/discomfort, fatigue

Self-narrowed focus

Distraction behaviors/autonomic responses

Guarding/protective behavior

DESIRED OUTCOMES/EVALUATION CRITERIA—PATIENT WILL:

Pain Level (NOC)

Report pain is relieved/controlled.

Appear relaxed, able to sleep/rest and participate in activities appropriately.

Pain Control (NOC)

Follow prescribed pharmacological regimen.

Incorporate relaxation skills and diversional activities into pain control program.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Pain Management (NIC)

Independent

Investigate reports of pain, noting location and intensity(scale of 0–10). Note precipitating factors and nonverbal pain cues.

Recommend/provide firm mattress or bedboard, small pillow. Elevate linens with bed cradle as needed.

Suggest patient assume position of comfort while in bed or sitting in chair. Promote bedrest as indicated.

RATIONALE

Helpful in determining pain management needs and effectiveness of program.

Soft/sagging mattress, large pillows prevent maintenance of proper body alignment, placing stress on affected joints. Elevation of bed linens reduces pressure on inflamed/painful joints.

In severe disease/acute exacerbation, total bedrest may be necessary (until objective and subjective improvements are noted) to limit pain/injury to joint.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Pain Management (NIC)

Independent

Place/monitor use of pillows, sandbags, trochanter rolls, splints, braces.

Encourage frequent changes of position. Assist patient to move in bed, supporting affected joints above and below, avoiding jerky movements.

Recommend that patient take warm bath or shower on arising and/or at bedtime. Apply warm, moist compresses to affected joints several times a day. Monitor water temperature of compress, baths, and so on.

Provide gentle massage.

Encourage use of stress management techniques, e.g., progressive relaxation, biofeedback, visualization, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, and controlled breathing. Provide Therapeutic Touch.

Involve in diversional activities appropriate for individual situation.

Medicate before planned activities/exercises as indicated.

Collaborative

Administer medications as indicated, e.g.:

Salicylates, e.g., aspirin (ASA) (Acuprin, Ecotrin, ZORprin);

Nonsalicylates (NSAIDs), e.g., ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), sulindac (Clinoril), prioxicam (Feldene), fenoprofen (Nalfon), diclofenac (Voltaren), ketoprofen (Orudis), ketorolac (Toradol), nabumetone (Relafen);

Glucocorticoids, e.g., prednisone (Deltasone), methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol), dexamethasone (Decadron);

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD), e.g., methotrexate (Rheumatrex), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), gold compounds, e.g., auranofin (Ridaura), azathioprine (Imuran), leflunomide (Arava);

RATIONALE

Rests painful joints and maintains neutral position. Note: Use of splints can decrease pain and may reduce damage to joint; however, prolonged inactivity can result in loss of joint mobility/function.

Prevents general fatigue and joint stiffness. Stabilizes joint, decreasing joint movement and associated pain.

Heat promotes muscle relaxation and mobility, decreases pain, and relieves morning stiffness. Sensitivity to heat may be diminished and dermal injury may occur.

Promotes relaxation/reduces muscle tension.

Promotes relaxation, provides sense of control, and may enhance coping abilities.

Refocuses attention, provides stimulation, and enhances self-esteem and feelings of general well-being.

Promotes relaxation, reduces muscle tension/spasms, facilitating participation in therapy.

ASA exerts an anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic effect, decreasing stiffness and increasing mobility. ASA must be taken regularly to sustain a therapeutic blood level. Research indicates that ASA has the lowest toxicity index of commonly prescribed NSAIDs.

These drugs control mild to moderate pain and inflammation by inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis.

These drugs modify the immune response and suppress inflammation.

These drugs vary in action, but all reduce pain and swelling, lessening arthritic symptoms rather than eliminating them. Arava (FDA approved in 1998) is the first oral drug shown to slow progression of RA and damage to joints.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Pain Management (NIC)

Collaborative

COX-2 inhibitors, e.g., celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx);

Biologicals, e.g., etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade);

Tetracyclines, e.g., minocycline (Minocin);

d-Penicillamine (Cuprimine);

Antacids, e.g., misoprostol (Cytotec), omeprezole (Prilosec);

Codeine-containing medications.

Collaborative

Assist with physical therapies, e.g., paraffin glove, whirlpool baths.

Apply ice or cold packs when indicated.

Instruct in use/monitor effect of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) unit if used.

RATIONALE

A new class of medication, COX-2 inhibitors interfere with prostaglandin production, similarly to NSAIDs, but are less likely to harm the stomach lining or kidneys. May be used in combination with other medications.

These injectable drugs are the first genetically engineered medications for arthritis. These anti-TNF compounds block inflammation and rapidly decrease pain and joint swelling. Enbrel is self-injected twice a week and may be used in combination with methotrexate. Remicade is administered IV at 1- to 3-month intervals. Note: Because of concerns about immune function suppression, Enbrel is recommended only for patients who are unable to tolerate methotrexate/failed to respond to at least two other DMARDs.

Characteristics of anti-inflammatory and immune modifier effects coupled with ability to block metalloproteinases (associated with joint destruction) have resulted in dramatic benefits in research studies.

May control systemic effects of RA synovitis and scleroderma if other therapies have not been successful. High rate of side effects (e.g., thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, aplastic anemia) necessitates close monitoring. Note: Drug should be given between meals because drug absorption is impaired by food, as well as antacids and iron products.

Given with NSAID agents to minimize gastric irritation/discomfort, reducing risk of GI bleed.

Although narcotics are generally contraindicated because of chronic nature of condition, short-term use of these products may be required during periods of acute exacerbation to control severe pain.

Provides sustained heat to reduce pain and improve ROM of affected joints.

Cold may relieve pain and swelling during acute episodes.

Constant low-level electrical stimulus blocks transmission of pain sensations.


ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Pain Management (NIC)

Collaborative

Assist with other modalities as indicated, e.g., blood filtration.

Prepare for surgical interventions, e.g., synovectomy, total joint replacement, joint fusion; tunnel release procedures, tendon repair.

RATIONALE

Prosorba Column is a device similar to a kidney dialysis machine that removes substances from blood plasma that contribute to joint swelling and pain.

Corrective surgical procedures may be indicated to reduce pain and/or improve joint function, and mobility.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Mobility, impaired physical/Walking, impaired

May be related to

Skeletal deformity

Pain, discomfort

Intolerance to activity; decreased muscle strength

Possibly evidenced by

Reluctance to attempt movement/inability to purposefully move within the physical environment

Limited ROM, impaired coordination, decreased muscle strength/control and mass (late stages)

DESIRED OUTCOMES/EVALUATION CRITERIA—PATIENT WILL:

Mobility Level (NOC)

Maintain position of function with absence/limitation of contractures.

Maintain or increase strength and function of affected and/or compensatory body part.

Demonstrate techniques/behaviors that enable resumption/continuation of activities.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Exercise Therapy: Joint Mobility (NIC)

Independent

Evaluate/continuously monitor degree of joint inflammation/pain.

Maintain bedrest/chair rest when indicated. Schedule activities providing frequent rest periods and uninterrupted nighttime sleep.

Assist with active/passive ROM and resistive exercises and isometrics when able.

RATIONALE

Level of activity/exercise depends on progression/resolution of inflammatory process.

Systemic rest is mandatory during acute exacerbations and important throughout all phases of disease to reduce fatigue, improve strength.

Maintains/improves joint function, muscle strength, and general stamina. Note: Inadequate exercise leads to joint stiffening, whereas excessive activity can damage joints.


ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Exercise Therapy: Joint Mobility (NIC)

Independent

Encourage patient to maintain upright and erect posture

when sitting, standing, walking.

Discuss/provide safety needs, e.g., raised chairs/toilet seat, use of handrails in tub/shower and toilet, proper use of mobility aids/wheelchair safety.

Positioning (NIC)

Reposition frequently using adequate personnel. Demonstrate/assist with transfer techniques and use of mobility aids, e.g., walker, cane, trapeze.

Position with pillows, sandbags, trochanter roll. Provide joint support with splints, braces.

Suggest using small/thin pillow under neck.

Collaborative

Provide foam/alternating pressure mattress.

Exercise Therapy: Joint Mobility (NIC)

Consult with physical/occupational therapists and vocational specialist.

RATIONALE

Maximizes joint function, maintains mobility.

Helps prevent accidental injuries/falls.

Relieves pressure on tissues and promotes circulation. Facilitates self-care and patient’s independence. Proper transfer techniques prevent shearing abrasions of skin.

Promotes joint stability (reducing risk of injury) and maintains proper joint position and body alignment, minimizing contractures.

Prevents flexion of neck.

Decreases pressure on fragile tissues to reduce risks of immobility/development of decubitus.

Useful in formulating exercise/activity program based on individual needs and in identifying mobility devices/adjuncts.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Body Image disturbed/Role Performance, ineffective

May be related to

Changes in ability to perform usual tasks

Increased energy expenditure; impaired mobility

Possibly evidenced by

Change in structure/function of affected parts

Negative self-talk; focus on past strength/function, appearance

Change in lifestyle/physical ability to resume roles, loss of employment, dependence on SO for assistance

Change in social involvement; sense of isolation

Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness

DESIRED OUTCOMES/EVALUATION CRITERIA—PATIENT WILL:

Psychosocial Adjustment: Life Change (NOC)

Verbalize increased confidence in ability to deal with illness, changes in lifestyle, and possible limitations.

Formulate realistic goals/plans for future.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Body Image [or] Role Enhancement (NIC)

Independent

Encourage verbalization about concerns of disease process, future expectations.

Discuss meaning of loss/change to patient/SO. Ascertain how patient views self in usual lifestyle functioning, including sexual aspects.

Discuss patient’s perception of how SO perceives limitations.

Acknowledge and accept feelings of grief, hostility, dependency.

Note withdrawn behavior, use of denial, or overconcern with body/changes.

Set limits on maladaptive behavior. Assist patient to identify positive behaviors that will aid in coping.

Involve patient in planning care and scheduling activities.

Assist with grooming needs as necessary.

Give positive reinforcement for accomplishments.

Collaborative

Refer to psychiatric counseling, e.g., psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, psychiatrist/psychologist, social worker.

Administer medications as indicated, e.g., antianxiety and mood-elevating drugs.

RATIONALE

Provides opportunity to identify fears/misconceptions and deal with them directly.

Identifying how illness affects perception of self and interactions with others will determine need for further intervention/counseling.

Verbal/nonverbal cues from SO may have a major impact on how patient views self.

Constant pain is wearing, and feelings of anger and hostility are common. Acceptance provides feedback that feelings are normal.

May suggest emotional exhaustion or maladaptive coping methods, requiring more in-depth intervention/psychological support.

Helps patient maintain self-control, which enhances self-esteem.

Enhances feelings of competency/self-worth, encourages independence and participation in therapy.

Maintaining appearance enhances self-image.

Allows patient to feel good about self. Reinforces positive behavior. Enhances self-confidence.

Patient/SO may require ongoing support to deal with long-term/debilitating process.

May be needed in presence of severe depression until patient develops more effective coping skills.


NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Self-Care deficit (specify)

May be related to

Musculoskeletal impairment; decreased strength/endurance, pain on movement

Depression

Possibly evidenced by

Inability to manage ADLs (feeding, bathing, dressing, and/or toileting)

DESIRED OUTCOMES/EVALUATION CRITERIA—PATIENT WILL:

Self-Care: Activities of Daily Living (ADL) (NOC)

Perform self-care activities at a level consistent with individual capabilities.

Self-Care: Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) (NOC)

Demonstrate techniques/lifestyle changes to meet self-care needs.

Identify personal/community resources that can provide needed assistance.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Self-Care Assistance (NIC)

Independent

Determine usual level of functioning (0–4) before onset/exacerbation of illness and potential changes now anticipated.

Maintain mobility, pain control, and exercise program.

Assess barriers to participation in self-care. Identify/plan for environmental modifications.

Allow patient sufficient time to complete tasks to fullest extent of ability. Capitalize on individual strengths.

Collaborative

Consult with rehabilitation specialists, e.g., occupational therapist.

Arrange home-health evaluation before discharge, with follow-up afterward.

Arrange for consult with other agencies, e.g., Meals on Wheels, home care service, nutritionist.

RATIONALE

May be able to continue usual activities with necessary adaptations to current limitations.

Support physical/emotional independence.

Prepares for increased independence, which enhances self-esteem.

May need more time to complete tasks by self but provides an opportunity for greater sense of self-confidence and self-worth.

Helpful in determining assistive devices to meet individual needs, e.g., buttonhook, long-handled shoehorn, reacher, hand-held shower head.

Identifies problems that may be encountered because of current level of disability. Provides for more successful team efforts with others who are involved in care, e.g., occupational therapy team.

May need additional kinds of assistance to continue in home setting.


NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Home Maintenance, risk for impaired

Risk factors may include

Long-term degenerative disease process

Inadequate support systems

Possibly evidenced by

[Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]

DESIRED OUTCOMES/EVALUATION CRITERIA—PATIENT WILL:

Self-Care: Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) (NOC)

Maintain safe, growth-promoting environment.

Demonstrate appropriate, effective use of resources.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Home Maintenance Assistance (NIC)

Independent

Determine level of physical functioning using Functional Level Classification 0–4.

Evaluate environment to assess ability to care for self.

Determine financial resources to meet needs of individual situation. Identify support systems available to patient, e.g., extended family, friends/neighbors.

Develop plan for maintaining a clean, healthful environment, e.g., sharing of household repair/tasks between family members or by contract services.

Identify sources for necessary equipment, e.g., lifts, elevated toilet seat, wheelchair.

Collaborative

Coordinate home evaluation by occupational therapist/rehabilitation team.

Identify/meet with community resources, e.g., visiting nurse, homemaker service, social services, senior citizens’ groups.

RATIONALE

Identifies degree of assistance/support required. For example, the level 0 patient is completely able to perform usual activities of daily living (self-care, vocational, and avocational), whereas the level 4 patient is limited in all these areas and does not participate in activity.

Determines feasibility of remaining in/changing home layout to meet individual needs.

Availability of personal resources and community supports will affect ability to problem-solve and choice of solutions.

Ensures that needs will be met on an ongoing basis.

Provides opportunity to acquire equipment before discharge.

Useful for identifying adaptive equipment, ways to modify tasks to maintain independence.

Can facilitate transfer to/support continuation in home setting.


NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Knowledge, deficient [Learning Need] regarding disease, prognosis, treatment, self-care, and discharge needs

May be related to

Lack of exposure/recall

Information misinterpretation

Possibly evidenced by

Questions/request for information, statement of misconception

Inaccurate follow-through of instructions, development of preventable complications

Desired outcomes/evaluation criteria—patient will:

Knowledge: Disease Process (NOC)

Verbalize understanding of condition/prognosis, and potential complications.

Knowledge: Treatment Regimen (NOC)

Verbalize understanding of therapeutic needs.

Develop a plan for self-care, including lifestyle modifications consistent with mobility and/or activity restrictions.

ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Teaching: Disease Process (NIC)

Independent

Review disease process, prognosis, and future expectations.

Discuss patient’s role in management of disease process through nutrition, medication, and balanced program of exercise and rest.

Assist in planning a realistic and integrated schedule of activity, rest, personal care, drug administration, physical therapy, and stress management.

Identify individually appropriate exercise program components, e.g., swimming, stationary bike, nonimpact aerobics.

Stress importance of continued pharmacotherapeutic management.

Recommend use of enteric-coated/buffered aspirin or nonacetylated salicylates, e.g., choline salicylate (Arthropan) or choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate).

RATIONALE

Provides knowledge base from which patient can make informed choices.

Goal of disease control is to suppress inflammation in joints/other tissues to maintain joint function and prevent deformities.

Provides structure and defuses anxiety when managing a complex chronic disease process.

Can increase patient’s energy level and mental alertness, minimize functional limitations. Program needs to be customized based on joints involved/patient’s general condition to maximize effect and reduce risk of injury.

Benefits of drug therapy depend on correct dosage, e.g., aspirin must be taken regularly to sustain therapeutic blood levels of 18–25 mg/dL.

Coated/buffered preparations ingested with food minimize gastric irritation, reducing risk of bleeding/hemorrhage. Note: Nonacetylated products have a longer half-life, requiring less frequent administration in addition to producing less gastric irritation.


ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Teaching: Disease Process (NIC)

Independent

Suggest taking medications, such as NSAIDs, with meals, milk products, or antacids and at bedtime.

Identify adverse drug effects, e.g., tinnitus, gastric intolerance, GI bleeding, purpuric rash.

Stress importance of reading product labels and refraining from OTC drug usage without prior medical approval.

Review importance of balanced diet with foods high in vitamins, protein, and iron.

Encourage obese patient to lose weight, and supply with weight reduction information as appropriate.

Provide information about/resources for assistive devices, e.g., wheeled dolly/wagon for moving items, pickup sticks, lightweight dishes and pans, raised toilet seat, safety handlebars.

Discuss energy-saving techniques, e.g. sitting instead of standing to prepare meals or shower.

Encourage maintenance of correct body position and posture both at rest and during activity, e.g., keeping joints extended, not flexed, wearing splints for prescribed periods, avoiding remaining in a single position for extended periods, positioning hands near center of body during use, and sliding rather than lifting objects when possible.

Review necessity of frequent inspection of skin and meticulous skin care under splints, casts, supporting devices. Demonstrate proper padding.

Discuss necessity of medical follow-up/laboratory studies, e.g., ESR, salicylate levels, PT.

RATIONALE

Limits gastric irritation. Reduction of pain at hs enhances sleep, and increased blood level decreases early-morning stiffness.

Prolonged, maximal doses of aspirin may result in overdose. Tinnitus usually indicates high therapeutic blood levels. If tinnitus occurs, the dosage is usually decreased by 1 tablet every 2–3 days until it stops.

Many products (e.g., cold remedies, antidiarrheals) contain hidden salicylates that increase risk of drug overdose/harmful side effects.

Promotes general well-being and tissue repair/regeneration.

Weight loss reduces stress on joints, especially hips, knees, ankles, feet.

Reduces force exerted on joints and enables individual to participate more comfortably in needed/desired activities.

Prevents fatigue; facilitates self-care and independence.

Good body mechanics must become a part of patient’s lifestyle to lessen joint stress and pain.

Reduces risk of skin irritation/breakdown.

Drug therapy requires frequent assessment/refinement to ensure optimal effect and to prevent overdose/dangerous side effects, e.g., aspirin prolongs PT, increasing risk of bleeding.


ACTIONS/INTERVENTIONS

Teaching: Disease Process (NIC)

Independent

Provide for sexual and childbirth counseling as necessary.

Identify community resources, e.g., Arthritis Foundation.

RATIONALE

Information about different positions and techniques and/or other options for sexual fulfillment may enhance personal relationships and feelings of self-worth/self-esteem. Note: A large number of patients with RA are in childbearing years and need counseling, support, and medical interventions.

Assistance/support from others promotes maximal recovery.

POTENTIAL CONSIDERATIONS following acute hospitalization (dependent on patient’s age, physical condition/presence of complications, personal resources, and life responsibilities)

Fatigue—increased energy requirements to perform ADLs, states of discomfort.

Pain, chronic—accumulation of fluid/inflammation, destruction of joint.

Mobility, impaired physical—skeletal deformity, pain/discomfort, decreased muscle strength, intolerance to activity.

Self-Care deficit/Home Maintenance, impaired—musculoskeletal impairment, decreased strength/endurance, pain on movement, inadequate support systems, insufficient finances, unfamiliarity with neighborhood resources.