Reflective accounts

Encephalitis

A CPD article enhanced Ruth Beretta’s knowledge of the nursing care a patient with encephalitis requires

A CPD article enhanced Ruth Beretta’s knowledge of the nursing care a patient with encephalitis requires.

Abstract

The CPD article provided information on encephalitis and focused on prioritising people and addressing the needs of the patient, their family and carers. The article encourages nurses to ensure that the fundamentals of care are delivered effectively and that physical, psychological and social needs are addressed.

The article identified the distinction between encephalitis and encephalopathy – an altered level of consciousness or change in behaviour, personality or cognition.

Infectious causes of encephalitis were identified, ranging from herpes simplex virus (HSV) type I or varicella zoster virus to bacterial infections and autoimmune causes. A range of diagnostic investigations was explored, such as lumbar puncture, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, urinalysis, chest X-ray, and a variety of blood tests. Despite these investigations, no specific cause for the infection is found in 40-60% of cases, but treatment should still be started if the diagnosis is suspected.

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This reflective account is based on NS819 Matata C et al (2015) Managing patients with encephalitis. Nursing Standard. 30, 11, 50-58.

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