Diagnosis and management of patients with Bell’s palsy
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Diagnosis and management of patients with Bell’s palsy

Tracy Mooney Nurse practitioner, Great Bentley Surgery, Essex

Bell’s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis) is the most common cause of acute unilateral facial nerve paralysis. Although it is usually a self-limiting condition, it can be distressing for the patient. Many people who experience one-sided facial paralysis fear that it is a symptom of stroke. However, there are subtle differences between Bell’s palsy and stroke. This article discusses potential causes of the condition and identifies the differences between Bell’s palsy and stroke. In addition, appropriate strategies for the care of patients with the condition are suggested. Management includes antiviral medication, corticosteroid therapy, eye care, botulinum toxin type A injection, physiotherapy, surgery and acupuncture. Psychological and emotional care of these patients is also important because any facial disability caused by facial nerve paralysis can result in anxiety and stress.

Nursing Standard. 28, 14,44-49. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.12.28.14.44.e7979

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 17 June 2012

Accepted: 09 September 2013