A patient recovering from a stroke has severe shoulder pain from subluxation of the shoulder and is being cared for on the unit. To prevent further injury and pain, the nurse caring for this patient is aware of what principle of care?

Answer Explanation: To prevent shoulder pain, the nurse should never lift a patient by the flaccid shoulder or pull on the affected arm or shoulder. The patient is taught how to move and exercise the affected arm/shoulder through proper movement and positioning. The patient is instructed to interlace the fingers, place the palms together, and push the clasped hands slowly forward to bring the scapulae forward; he or she then raises both hands above the head. This is repeated throughout the day. The use of a properly worn sling when the patient is out of bed prevents the paralyzed upper extremity from dangling without support. Range-of- motion exercises are still vitally important in preventing a frozen shoulder and ultimately atrophy of subcutaneous tissues, which can cause more pain. Elevation of the arm and hand is also important in preventing dependent edema of the hand.

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