PANDAS – What nurses need to know

Melerine, Chelsea BSN; Ledet, Linda M. DNS, APRN, PMHCNS-BC

Nursing considerations
Nurses must educate patients and parents to monitor for any signs and symptoms of recurring infection, specifically GAS infection, in the patient or in any of the patient’s close contacts. Close surveillance with prompt treatment is recommended to prevent exacerbations and prevent GAS transmission.12 Instruct patients and/or parents to finish the entire course of antibiotic therapy as prescribed, and to replace the child’s toothbrush to prevent reinfection.1 Also teach them about any other prescribed medications, including potential adverse reactions.

Because PANDAS is a relatively new phenomenon and is underresearched, most nurses are unaware of the disorder and the impact it has on children and their families. This lack of nursing knowledge is especially problematic during this time when more research is needed. With the science not yet established, the art of nursing is especially important to help families who are struggling to find answers about their child’s condition.

Since the identification of PANDAS in 1998, these authors have identified only three articles written from a nursing standpoint, and only one of these involved nursing research to establish evidence-based knowledge about this disorder.6 Nurses should be encouraged to become involved in research to address the many unanswered questions about PANDAS.

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