Fractures are reported to cause many troubles as they can result in future life-long disabilities. Traction is a frequently used intervention to ensure the immobility of the body parts with broken bones, reduce pain, and foster the healing process. With the flow of time, the use of traction and the way the construction looks have considerably changed. However, it gives many people the ability to move, walk, and live a normal life. Nurses as primary caregivers are responsible for performing many procedures related to traction. For this reason, there is a set of recommendations for healthcare providers to ensure avoiding mistakes during the procedures.
The manual Nursing Care Related to the Musculoskeletal System defines traction as “the act of exerting a pulling force” (Hughey, 2012, p. 28). Hajbaghery and Moradi (2013, p. 85) state that traction is mostly used if a patient has a hip fracture. Traction is possible only if countertraction (created by body weight and friction against the bed) is ensured. The intervention is used in order to create the immobility of the body part with fracture, fix the bones so that there is no deformation, reduce pain, and relieve spasms in muscles (Hughey, 2012, p. 28). Hajbaghery and Moradi (2013, p. 85) add that it is a pre-operative procedure used for pain reduction and facilitation of the surgery.
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In orthopedic practice, traction is applied in two basic methods: skin and skeletal. Traction has two forms: balanced suspension traction and running traction (Hughey, 2012, p. 28). The processes are different depending on the way the apparatus is placed and the part of body that has to be fixed. In general, the procedure is not performed by the nursing staff despite the fact that it is trained enough for that. Nurses are responsible for observing a patient with traction and, if needed, recognizing the defects in the system that can affect its proper functioning (Hughey, 2012, p. 29). In such cases, primary caregivers should report about changes to the qualified staff.
Despite the fact that nurses do not construct traction apparatus by themselves, their duties are very important part of pre- and post-traction care. Thus, before the procedures, nurses prepare the patient by undressing him, offering a bedpan, and bringing the clothes and equipment needed before and after the procedure. The role of nursing personnel in post-traction care is also significant. First, the nurse observes the apparatus to prevent the patient from compromising it and notices the signs of complications. Second, the caregiver is the one to ensure that the patient has his life-important needs satisfied. As the person with traction cannot freely move on his or her own, nurses are required to feed the patient, change the clothes, and him/her with everything required (Hughey, 2012, p. 37). Finally, nursing staff assesses the state of the patient and determines the things that the patient can perform by himself.
Another important aspect is establishing cooperation with the patient for him or her to feel care and trust of the caregiver. Thus, a nurse should guarantee that a patient is clearly instructed about immobility issues. Moreover, one is encouraged to eat everything prepared for him or her. In addition to that, a nurse needs to give some privacy to the person (in most cases, for defecation). Hughey (2012, p. 37) also recommends that the nurse asks a person to take a few deep breaths every hour in order to prevent one from breathing complications.
Traction is the method to treat patients with broken bones. The apparatus ensures immobility, proper bone position, pain reduction, relieving muscle spasms, and facilitation of further surgery. Nurses have many duties taking care of the patient in traction. They prepare a person for the procedure, control the construction, and ensure satisfaction of one’s basic needs.