A Retrospective Study to Describe the use of the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) for Assessing Sedation in the Traumatic Brain Injured Patient
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBackground: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients are often sedated, yet sedation assessment scales have not been thoroughly studied in this population. This project inquiry describes the use of the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) in assessing sedation in TBI patients. Methods: A retrospective, descriptive analysis of 38 ventilated, sedated TBI patients was performed to describe 1) the characteristics of the study TBI population, 2) the use of the RASS to guide titration of sedation medication, and 3) the nursing perspective of a sedation titration protocol that includes the use of the RASS. Results: Prescribed RASS score for the study population was -2; the actual RASS score was -2.04 +/-1.05. The days spent on mechanical ventilation were 3.46 +/- 1.95. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) correlated with sedation titration (r = -0.373; p<.05). The ICD-9 code also correlated with the RASS (r = -0.400; p<0.05). There was no correlation between RASS and sedation titration (r = -0.061; p = 0.717). The majority of nurses perceived that when using the RASS, sedation level did not affect their feeling of accuracy of neurological assessment (56%), and the patient's agitation level did not affect their feeling of accurate neurological assessment (58%). Conclusion: While the degree of injury was associated with the ability of the TBI patient to maintain the prescribed RASS level, there was no association between the RASS score and sedation titration, indicating that in this small study, the RASS did not guide sedation titration in the TBI population. However, the time spent at the prescribed RASS level and days of mechanical ventilation, which was similar to reported norms, suggest that the RASS is an adequate tool for assessing sedation in the TBI population. From the nursing perspective, the use of the RASS was not a barrier in assessing sedation titration. To our knowledge, this is the first study to describe the use of RASS for assessment of sedation in TBI patients. Additional prospective studies are necessary to fully understand the ability of the RASS to guide sedation titration.
Degree ProgramGraduate College