Effectively treating critically ill patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a challenge for many intensive care nurses. Multiple disease processes and injuries contribute to the complexity of ARDS and often complicate therapy. As a means of supportive care for ARDS, practitioners resort to rescue therapies to improve oxygenation and salvage the patient. The pathophysiology of ARDS and the use of prone positioning to improve pulmonary ventilation and oxygenation in ARDS patients are described. Educating nursing and medical staff on the use of prone positioning allows ease of patient placement with an emphasis on safety of both patients and staff. Scrupulous assessment of patients coupled with judicious timing of prone positioning expedites weaning from ventilatory support and contributes to positive outcomes for patients.

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