The nurse is providing discharge instructions to a patient who underwent a mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. Which of the following statements by the nurse is appropriate?

"When you are washing dishes, you must wear gloves."

Explanation

• It is correct to tell the patient to wear protective gloves while doing the dishes and when cleaning in order to prevent altered skin integrity and infection.

• After axillary node dissection and mastectomy, the affected arm of the patient may swell and have a reduced ability to fight infection. The nurse must focus on the issue of maintaining skin integrity and preventing infection even after the patient is discharged.

• To prevent complications, the patient must know the following self-care measures: use insect repellant to avoid bites and stings, never pick at or cut cuticles, apply lanolin hand cream a few times daily, and wear gloves while dishwashing and cleaning.

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