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1.The Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms (TOUS) is a conceptual framework that provides a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of patients with acute and chronic illnesses. The TOUS is based on the premise that symptoms are multidimensional and dynamic, and that they interact with each other to affect patients’ overall well-being and quality of life. Therefore, when designing an assessment tool for patient symptoms, it is essential to consider the TOUS as a guide. Firstly, the assessment tool should capture a wide range of symptoms that are relevant to the patient’s condition. It is necessary to include physical, psychological and social dimensions that are related to the patient’s symptoms. The assessment tool must focus on capturing the symptoms that affect the patient’s daily life, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, and depression. Furthermore, the tool should be reliable and valid, which means that it accurately measures what it claims to measure and produces consistent data.Secondly, it should be sensitive to the changing nature of symptoms over time. Patients’ symptoms can change frequently, so it is vital to track these changes systematically. The assessment tool should be designed to capture the symptom pattern over time, assess the severity of these symptoms, and document their duration, frequency, and intensity. Therefore, it is essential to use a measure that can be completed multiple times by patients to track changes over time.Thirdly, the assessment tool should be culturally sensitive and tailored to the patient’s experience and perspective. According to Lenz and colleagues (1995), patients’ cultural backgrounds and personal beliefs can significantly impact symptom expression and interpretation. Therefore, the assessment tool must be developed with the consideration of cultural and linguistic differences. The use of pictorial representations to document symptoms may be necessary when working with non-English language speakers, and adapting items to match cultural beliefs is a crucial consideration.Lastly, the assessment tool should facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers, which allows the patient to express their symptoms accurately. The tool should be developed in a patient-friendly and understandable language. The use of visual aids and open-ended questions can help patients describe their symptoms. By using these methods, healthcare providers can identify patients’ needs and improve communication and treatment interventions.
In conclusion, the design of an assessment tool for patient symptoms requires the consideration of the TOUS framework. The tool must include multidimensional symptoms, capture changes over time, be culturally sensitive and facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers. These features will help healthcare providers identify patient needs and improve symptom management.
2.The topic that we are analyzing on this occasion in relation to the theory of unpleasant symptoms as a guide and tool for evaluating the patient’s symptoms will allow us as nursing professionals to obtain satisfactory results in the care we provide. In this sense, as (Johanna & Berdugo, 2020) mentions, the theory of unpleasant symptoms constitutes an evaluation tool that allows us not only to identify, but also to treat the uncomfortable or unpleasant symptoms that our patients may experience. And it is that, in effect, this theory is based on the fact that unpleasant symptoms are a common response of the body to a variety of diseases and medical treatments, which in turn have a significant impact on the quality of life of patients. This theory consists of three components that are symptoms, influencing factors and performance results, and also has four dimensions that are distress, quality, duration and intensity of symptoms. (Johanna & Berdugo, 2020)
In our care practice, for example, in the care of a patient with Acute Appendicitis in the emergency department, the use of this theory will enable us to identify and evaluate some of its unpleasant symptoms, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Although as nursing professionals we can use various assessment tools to measure the intensity of these symptoms, knowing this theory and applying it in daily practice is transcendental (Medeiros, 2020). Following the previous example, once the unpleasant symptoms described above have been identified, we can implement interventions to alleviate them and improve the patient’s quality of life. From what I can affirm that this is very useful and valuable, since it allows us to know the severity and magnitude of these symptoms, which will determine the future interventions to apply. These interventions, derived from the previous evaluation, may include the use of medications to achieve pain control, medications to control nausea, and finally the required intervention, which in the example analyzed is surgery. In turn, this theory allows us to achieve a holistic approach in the patient after the initial evaluation, where in addition to the previously applied interventions we can develop cognitive-behavioral therapies to treat depression and anxiety associated with her medical condition.
I find the theory of unpleasant symptoms to be an excellent tool for the evaluation and treatment of uncomfortable or unpleasant symptoms experienced by patients. Nursing professionals must implement this theory in our daily practice, which seeks better care and quality. Its application not only allows the evaluation of the aforementioned aspects, but also places the patient at the center of care (Tetzlaff, 2020) and the interventions that we apply will help them manage their disease and associated symptoms, as well as treatment.This week, with the study of this topic, I have been able to acquire valuable learning results that are undoubtedly applicable to patient care in my work environment. I have been able to incorporate an excellent assessment tool that enables me to implement holistic care based on a biopsychosocial approach. And its application as a tool allows me to integrate the information, with the aim of improving the experience of the symptoms, and developing effective methods of prevention and minimizing the negative effects. Finally, this theory has a theoretical framework that enables its use in nursing practice, teaching, and research.