Underwater seal chest drains: the patient's experience

Authors

  • SUZANNE OWEN BSc, MSc, RGN,

    1. Clinical Lecturer in Nursing Studies, King's College, Cornwall House, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK
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  • DINAH GOULD BSc, MPhil, PhD, RGN, RNT

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer in Nursing Studies, Department of Nursing Studies, King's College, Cornwall House, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK
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D. Gould

Summary

  • Chest drains are routinely inserted during thoracic surgery and to conservatively manage spontaneous pneumothorax.
  • An extensive search of the literature revealed only a small number of highly prescriptive articles to advise the nurse on the specific care needs of this patient group.
  • An exploratory study undertaken with 18 patients drew attention to the persistent discomfort and pain experienced by patients throughout the entire time that the chest drain remained in situ.
  • Most of the patients also experienced short-lasting but intense pain when the chest drain was removed.
  • Patients appeared ill-prepared for their experiences despite opportunities to obtain verbal and written information from staff.

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