The respiratory rate is a count of one full inspiration/expiration cycle for 1 full minute. Assessing respirations includes checking rate, rhythm, and depth. It includes assessing inspiration (taking oxygen into the lungs) and expiration (removing carbon dioxide from the lungs). The normal respiratory rate varies with age. The newborn’s respiratory rate is quite rapid, averaging about 40 breaths per minute. The respiratory rate gradually decreases with age until it reaches the adult rate of 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Respiratory rates that are within normal range are termed eupnea, those above normal range are termed Tachypnea; and those below normal range are called bradypnea. Absent breathing is apnea, and difficult breathing is Dyspnea. Respirations are diaphragmatic on children younger than 7 years of age observe or place hand on abdomen. Respirations are thoracic in children older than 7 years of age observe or place hand on chest.
Client education Count the respiratory rate:
- Instruct the client about the reason for assessing respiration.
- Teach the caregiver to count respiration while the client is not aware.
- Instruct the caregiver to contact the nurse if there is an alteration in the client’s respiration’s.
- Clients should be taught to notify their caregiver or nurse when they feel a change in their respiration’s.
- Clients who have decreased ventilation may benefit from being taught deep-breathing and coughing techniques.
Equipment Needed for Count the respiratory rate
- Watch with a second hand
General Guidelines for Vital Signs Count the Respiratory Rate
- Check record for baseline and factors (age, illness, medications, etc.) influencing vital signs.
- Gather equipment, including paper and pen, for recording vital signs.
- Wash hands.
- Prepare child and family in a quiet and nonthreatening manner.
Nursing Procedure Count the respiratory rate:
- General Guidelines 1-4.
- Be sure chest movement is visible. Client may need to remove heavy clothing.
- Observe one complete respiratory cycle. If it is easier, place the client’s hand across his abdomen and your hand over the client’s wrist.
- Start counting with first inspiration while looking at the second hand of a watch. Infants and children: Count Respiration’s for one full minute for infants and younger children because respiration’s are normally irregular Adults: count for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to obtain the rate per minute, if an irregular rate or rhythm is present, count for one full minute.
- Observe character of respiration’s; Depth of respiration’s by degree of chest wall movement (shallow, normal, or deep) Rhythm of cycle (regular or interrupted)
- Observe movement of chest and abdomen; Assess chest movements for symmetry, in infants observe movement of abdomen. Paradoxical abdominal movement, abdomen rises on inspiration as chest retracts (see or saw movement), is abnormal except in premature infants.
- Auscultate for normal, abnormal, and diminished and/or absent breath sounds on both back and chest; use a regular pattern; compare breath sounds side-to-side.
- Replace client’s gown if needed.
- Record rate and character of respiration’s.
- Wash hands.
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