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Assisted cough

Breathing exercises that elicit cough stimulation.


– Help to mobilize and eliminate secretions produced in the respiratory tract. – Provoke expectoration of the patient through cough stimulation. – Educate the patient and family in the acquisition of skills for the performance of the assisted coughing technique.


– One pillow.


– Disposable paper towelettes. – Waste bag. – Nursing records.


– Preserve the patient’s privacy. – Inform the patient of the procedure to follow. – Ask for the patient’s and family’s cooperation. – Place the patient in a seated position with the head slightly tilted forward, shoulders facing inward and arms resting on a pillow on the abdomen, if the patient’s general condition permits. – Instruct the patient to take a deep breath in through the nose, followed by a sharp exhalation through the mouth. – Repeat 3 times and at the third time he/she should cough. – Repeat the whole process 3-6 times until coughing is stimulated and expectoration occurs. – Place the patient in the most appropriate position. – Record in the nursing documentation: procedure, reason, date and time, incidences, and the patient’s response.


– If the patient is newly operated: immobilize the incision area before coughing. Teach how to place the hands above and below the surgical incision. – To encourage coughing, administer the prescribed analgesia before starting breathing exercises. – Bear in mind that the cough reflex decreases if the patient is being treated with codeine. – Increase fluid intake to thin secretions if there is no contraindication.

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