Case Study Assignment: Assessing the Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat
Most ear, nose, and throat conditions that arise in non-critical care settings are minor in nature. However, subtle symptoms can sometimes escalate into life-threatening conditions that require prompt assessment and treatment.
Nurses conducting assessments of the ears, nose, and throat must be able to identify the small differences between life-threatening conditions and benign ones. For instance, if a patient with a sore throat and a runny nose also has inflamed lymph nodes, the inflammation is probably due to the pathogen causing the sore throat rather than a case of throat cancer. With this knowledge and a sufficient patient health history, a nurse would not need to escalate the assessment to a biopsy or an MRI of the lymph nodes but would probably perform a simple strep test.
In this Case Study Assignment, you consider case studies of abnormal findings from patients in a clinical setting. You determine what history should be collected from the patients, what physical exams and diagnostic tests should be conducted, and formulate a differential diagnosis with several possible conditions.
· By Day 1 of this week, you will be assigned to a specific case study for this Case Study Assignment. Please see the “Course Announcements” section of the classroom for your assignment from your Instructor.
· Also, your Case Study Assignment should be in the Episodic/Focused SOAP Note format rather than the traditional narrative style format. Refer to Chapter 2 of the Sullivan text and the Episodic/Focused SOAP Template in the Week 5 Learning Resources for guidance. Remember that all Episodic/Focused SOAP Notes have specific data included in every patient case.
With regard to the case study you were assigned:
· Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider the insights they provide.
· Consider what history would be necessary to collect from the patient.
· Consider what physical exams and diagnostic tests would be appropriate to gather more information about the patient’s condition. How would the results be used to make a diagnosis?
· Identify at least five possible conditions that may be considered in a differential diagnosis for the patient.
Use the Episodic/Focused SOAP Template and create an episodic/focused note about the patient in the case study to which you were assigned using the episodic/focused note template provided in the Week 5 resources. Provide evidence from the literature to support diagnostic tests that would be appropriate for each case. List five different possible conditions for the patient’s differential diagnosis and justify why you selected each.
CASE STUDY 1: Focused Nose Exam
Richard is a 50-year-old male with nasal congestion, sneezing, rhinorrhea, and postnasal drainage. Richard has struggled with an itchy nose, eyes, palate, and ears for 5 days. As you check his ears and throat for redness and inflammation, you notice him touch his fingers to the bridge of his nose to press and rub there. He says he’s taken Mucinex OTC the past 2 nights to help him breathe while he sleeps. When you ask if the Mucinex has helped at all, he sneers slightly and gestures that the improvement is only minimal. Richard is alert and oriented. He has pale, boggy nasal mucosa with clear thin secretions and enlarged nasal turbinates, which obstruct airway flow but his lungs are clear. His tonsils are not enlarged but his throat is mildly erythematous.
Episodic/Focused SOAP Note Template
Initials, Age, Sex, Race
CC (chief complaint) a BRIEF statement identifying why the patient is here – in the patient’s own words – for instance “headache”, NOT “bad headache for 3 days”.
HPI: This is the symptom analysis section of your note. Thorough documentation in this section is essential for patient care, coding, and billing analysis. Paint a picture of what is wrong with the patient. Use LOCATES Mnemonic to complete your HPI. You need to start EVERY HPI with age, race, and gender (e.g., 34-year-old AA male). You must include the seven attributes of each principal symptom in paragraph form not a list. If the CC was “headache”, the LOCATES for the HPI might look like the following example:
Onset: 3 days ago
Character: pounding, pressure around the eyes and temples
Associated signs and symptoms: nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia
Timing: after being on the computer all day at work
Exacerbating/ relieving factors: light bothers eyes, Aleve makes it tolerable but not completely better
Severity: 7/10 pain scale
Current Medications: include dosage, frequency, length of time used and reason for use; also include OTC or homeopathic products.
Allergies: include medication, food, and environmental allergies separately (a description of what the allergy is ie angioedema, anaphylaxis, etc. This will help determine a true reaction vs intolerance).
PMHx: include immunization status (note date of last tetanus for all adults), past major illnesses and surgeries. Depending on the CC, more info is sometimes needed Soc Hx: include occupation and major hobbies, family status, tobacco & alcohol use (previous and current use), any other pertinent data. Always add some health promo question here – such as whether they use seat belts all the time or whether they have working smoke detectors in the house, living environment, text/cell phone use while driving, and support system.
Fam Hx: illnesses with possible genetic predisposition, contagious or chronic illnesses. Reason for death of any deceased first degree relatives should be included. Include parents, grandparents, siblings, and children. Include grandchildren if pertinent.
ROS: cover all body systems that may help you include or rule out a differential diagnosis You should list each system as follows: General: Head: EENT: etc. You should list these in bullet format and document the systems in order from head to toe.
Example of Complete ROS:
GENERAL: No weight loss, fever, chills, weakness or fatigue.
HEENT: Eyes: No visual loss, blurred vision, double vision or yellow sclerae. Ears, Nose, Throat: No hearing loss, sneezing, congestion, runny nose or sore throat.
SKIN: No rash or itching.
CARDIOVASCULAR: No chest pain, chest pressure or chest discomfort. No palpitations or edema.
RESPIRATORY: No shortness of breath, cough or sputum.
GASTROINTESTINAL: No anorexia, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. No abdominal pain or blood.
GENITOURINARY: Burning on urination. Pregnancy. Last menstrual period, MM/DD/YYYY.
NEUROLOGICAL: No headache, dizziness, syncope, paralysis, ataxia, numbness or tingling in the extremities. No change in bowel or bladder control.
MUSCULOSKELETAL: No muscle, back pain, joint pain or stiffness.
HEMATOLOGIC: No anemia, bleeding or bruising.
LYMPHATICS: No enlarged nodes. No history of splenectomy.
PSYCHIATRIC: No history of depression or anxiety.
ENDOCRINOLOGIC: No reports of sweating, cold or heat intolerance. No polyuria or polydipsia.
ALLERGIES: No history of asthma, hives, eczema or rhinitis.
Physical exam: From head-to-toe, include what you see, hear, and feel when doing your physical exam. You only need to examine the systems that are pertinent to the CC, HPI, and History. Do not use “WNL” or “normal.” You must describe what you see. Always document in head to toe format i.e. General: Head: EENT: etc.
Diagnostic results: Include any labs, x-rays, or other diagnostics that are needed to develop the differential diagnoses (support with evidenced and guidelines)
Differential Diagnoses (list a minimum of 3 differential diagnoses).Your primary or presumptive diagnosis should be at the top of the list. For each diagnosis, provide supportive documentation with evidence based guidelines.
This section is not required for the assignments in this course (NURS 6512) but will be required for future courses.
You are required to include at least three evidence based peer-reviewed journal articles or evidenced based guidelines which relates to this case to support your diagnostics and differentials diagnoses. Be sure to use correct APA 6th edition formatting.
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