Bell's Palsy

  1. General information
    1. Disorder of cranial nerve VII resulting in the loss of ability to move the muscles on one side of the face
    2. Cause unknown; may be viral or autoimmune
    3. Complete recovery in 3-5 weeks in majority of clients
  2. Assessment findings
    1. Loss of taste over anterior two-thirds of tongue on affected side
    2. Complete paralysis of one side of face
    3. Loss of expression, displacement of mouth toward unaffected side, and inability to close eyelid (all on affected side)
    4. Pain behind the ear
  3. Nursing interventions
    1. Assess facial nerve function regularly (see Table 4.15).
    2. Administer medications as ordered.
      1. Corticosteroids: to decrease edema and pain
      2. Mild analgesics as necessary
    3. Provide soft diet with supplementary feedings as indicated.
    4. Instruct to chew on unaffected side, avoid hot fluids/foods, and perform mouth care after each meal.
    5. Provide special eye care to protect the cornea.
      1. Dark glasses (cosmetic and protective reasons) or eyeshield
      2. Artificial tears to prevent drying of the cornea
      3. Ointment and eye patch at night to keep eyelid closed
    6. Provide support and reassurance.




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