Aim: The aim of this discursive paper is to present nursing interventions that address memory loss following heart surgery and which can be incorporated into patients’ overall plan of care. Background: Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) is the most frequent surgical treatment for cardiovascular disease. Despite the advantage, reports indicate CABG procedures significantly increase the risk of cerebral impairment and/or injury which can present itself in the form of memory loss. Older individuals, who tend to be at higher risk for memory loss than other age groups, undergo CABG later in life. Age combined with the effects of the surgical procedure increases the likelihood that individuals over the age of 65 years will experience some form of memory loss following surgery. Method: This discursive paper presented a discussion of the relevance and implications of memory loss to clinical nursing practice with particular attention to strategies nurses should use when caring for patients experiencing this symptom. Relevance to clinical practice: Memory loss is a common symptom present in at least 25% of all patients following CABG. Screening for memory loss following CABG using reliable and valid instruments, revisions to current patient education initiatives to include calling patients following hospital discharge to review education and delivering education over multiple sessions, creating supportive reality-oriented relationships, and engaging in memory oriented training were suggested as nursing strategies that should be incorporated into existing nursing care for patients following CABG. Conclusion: Currently, nursing practice does not routinely incorporate assessment and management of memory loss into the overall plan of care for patients following heart surgery. Specific nursing strategies that centre on the assessment and management of memory loss need to be implemented into standard of nursing practice.
Fredericks, S. (2012). Memory loss following coronary artery bypass graft surgery: A discussion of the implications for nursing. Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 22, 2, 33-36.