Background: Recumbency is defined as a patient that is lying down or unable to stand (Lane and Gruthrie 2001). The time that a patient is recumbent is dependent on the underlying cause and their comorbidities; however, there is little evidence describing the best way to nurse the recumbent patient. Some evidence from nursing human patients can be transferred to veterinary patients, whereas other ideas are merely anecdotal. Recumbent patients can present a challenge to the veterinary team as they often have many nursing considerations. It is therefore important to adopt a holistic approach, including regular patient assessment, treatment of the underlying cause and comorbidities, and the administration of frequent nursing interventions to reduce the risk of complications associated with being recumbent.
Aim of the article: To outline key patient assessment areas to consider when treating a recumbent patient.