This is a quick NCLEX review over canes for nursing students!
Canes are assistive devices used to help a patient ambulate. As the nurse you must know the following material about canes:
- How to tell if the cane properly fits the patient?
- How to ambulate with a cane?
- How to go up and down stairs with a cane?
- How to sit down and get up from a chair with a cane?
Don’t forget to take the quiz about canes after reviewing this material.
Canes Nursing Review
Canes NCLEX Nursing Review
Before a patient uses a cane for the first time, the cane must be adjusted to the patient’s height. Most canes can be adjusted at the bottom. Below are some key concepts to help you tell if a cane fits your patient properly.
Mains points to remember:
- The top of the cane should be even with the greater trochanter (this is the prominence of the top of the femur bone) OR when the patient holds the arms at their side, the top of the cane should be even with the wrist crease closest to the hand.
- While gripping the cane, the elbow should be flexed at a 15-30 degree angle.
When a patient is learning how to use a cane, the nurse should apply a gait belt to the patient for safety. In addition, the nurse should stand on the patient’s WEAK side during ambulation. When a patient is ready to start ambulating with a cane, the patient should place the tip of the cane about 4 inches from the side of the foot.
To walk (ambulate) with a cane, the patient will hold the cane on the STRONG side. Then the patient will move the cane and weak side TOGETHER forward, and then move the strong side. Please watch the video within this article to help you visualize how to walk with a cane.
Up and Down Stairs with a Cane?
Again, be sure you watch the video within these notes to help you visualize how to go up and down the stairs with a cane. The key to understanding what moves first (the good or bad leg) when either going up or down the stairs is to remember:
“Good=UP” and “Bad=Down”
- Going UP the stairs: the patient will move the “good” leg (hence non-injured leg) UP onto the step FIRST and then will move the “bad” leg (hence injured leg) and the cane up onto the step.
- Going DOWN the stairs: the patient will move the cane down onto the step and then move the “bad” leg (hence injured leg) DOWN and then move the “good” leg down.
Sitting Down and Getting Up from a Chair?
- Sitting Down: the patient will back up to the chair until they feel the chair with the back of their legs. The patient will then allow the cane to rest on the side of the chair. Then the patient will place both hands on the chair’s arm rest and place weight on the hands and bend the strong leg while keeping the weak leg slightly extended and sit down in the chair.
- Getting Up: the patient will place the cane on the strong side and keep the weak leg slightly extended out. Then the patient will lean forward out of the chair and push down on the cane’s hand grip and chair’s arm rest. Then the patient will put weight on the strong leg and stand in position with the cane.