Article of Open Journal of Nursing Research 


Nascimento T.L1, Lima L.B2; Oliveira M.M3; Ferreira R.M.M4; Iglesias D.P. P5
1,2.3.4Estudante do Curso de Enfermagem- UFPE; 5Docente do Departamento de Patologia - UFPE;

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and is considered one of the oldest diseases described in the literature. The causative bacteria have affinity for cutaneous cells and peripheral nerves. Clinically it is characterized by the presence of whitish or reddish dormant spots located mainly in the face, arms, legs and back regions. Patients may also present neurological lesions expressed by pain and decreased motor power. If not treated early, leprosy can progress to physical disabilities and deformities caused by worsening of clinical manifestations such as, toe claw, lagophthalmos and bone absorptions. In this perspective, leprosy has significant repercussions on the psychological as well as bringing restrictions to social life. Therefore, due to the intense impact caused by the disease, the treatment and control of the transmission of the disease is very importance. To emphasize the importance of nursing care to patients with leprosy, an integrative review of the journals published in the databases SCIELO, LILACS, BDENF and the Virtual Health Library (VHL) was carried out using the descriptors "Care", "Nursing" and "Leprosy" in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The inclusion criteria were complete articles published in Portuguese, English or Spanish, which approached the chosen topic, published in the last 10 years. A total of 35 articles were found, of which 12 were in agreement with the thematic and the pre-determined criteria, therefore they were read integrally. The studies elucidated that, even before the definitive diagnosis, leprosy generates disturbances caused by the historical knowledge of the clinical manifestations. The pathology triggers in the individual psychosocial problems in view of the stigmatization of the disease evidenced by the body changes. The leprosy patient is not only affected by the bacillus, but is also in a state of total psychological vulnerability to the point of social isolation. The negative repercussion of the disease contributes to its evolution, together with the consolidation of physical limitations and the decline in the quality of life. It is necessary to seek to alleviate the emotional impact caused by the disease, understand the psychological aspects and plan care assistance due to the improvement of the clinical picture. Brazil is the world leader in leprosy prevalence and approximately 40,000 new cases are diagnosed per year. We highlight the role of the nursing professional in adherence to treatment and guidelines on the forms of contamination. Thus, in addition to suppor patients with leprosy in coping with the disease and fortifying self-care to prevent disabilities and social restrictions, nurses should reinforce attention to collaboration in treatment, improvement of quality of life and reduction of new cases of leprosy in the Brazil.

Care; Nursing; Leprosy and Quality of Life

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