Evidence-Based Practice Nursing Interventions for Improved Functional and Cognitive Outcomes in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 4:05 PM

Judith Ann Kutzleb, DNP, RN, CCRN, APN-C
Medical Clinic, Holy Name Hospital, Teaneck, NJ

Learning Objective 1: identify a burning clinical question and develop a PICO statement essential to any research or EBP project.

Learning Objective 2: identify and differentiate the levels of evidence utilized in project development and implementation.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a combination of physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments, with an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustaining a traumatic brain injury every year. The overall purpose of this clinical project was to implement evidence-based practice protocols for management of traumatic brain injury patients. The instrument used in this population was the Orientation-Log (O-Log) by Dr. Thomas Novack, which measured orientation in terms of place, time, and situation.  
The evidence-based practice interventions included: pulse oximetry; blood pressure monitoring; toileting and limited distance ambulation (minimally 10 feet to maximally 25 feet) every two hours.
The evidence-based protocols included: Baseline O-Log administered within the first 24-hours of admission. Physical Therapy and Speech/Cognitive therapy integrated within 24 hours of admission. Case Management and Social Service referrals within 24 hours of admission for discharge planning.
Nurse Practitioner guided evidence-based practice protocols improved physical and cognitive outcomes; and decreased bedside patient sitters by 80% in TBI patients.  Individually tailored programs enabled TBI patients to achieve improved states of functional and cognitive well-being. Through the strategic cycle of patient assessment, ambulation and toileting, and hemodynamic status evaluation, TBI patients became less apt to develop confused and agitated states, which supported a safer patient environment.