8 Congestive Heart Failure Nursing Care Plans

Heart failure (HF) or Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a physiologic state in which he heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body. Heart failure results from changes in systolic or diastolic function of the left ventricle. The heart fails when, because of intrinsic disease or structural it cannot handle a normal blood volume or, in absence of disease, cannot tolerate a sudden expansion in blood volume. Heart failure is not a disease itself, instead, the term refers to a clinical syndrome characterized by manifestations of volume overload, inadequate tissue perfusion, and poor exercise tolerance. Whatever the cause, pump failure results in hypoperfusion of tissues, followed by pulmonary and systemic venous congestion.

Because heart failure causes vascular congestion, it is often called congestive heart failure, although most cardiac specialist no longer use this term. Other terms used to denote heart failure include chronic heart failure, cardiac decompensation, cardiac insufficiency and ventricular failure.

For the updated version of this care plan, see: 6 Heart Failure Nursing Care Plans

Nursing Care Plans

Here are 10 nursing care plans for patients with Congestive Heart Failure. 

1. Decreased Cardiac Output

The heat fails to pump enough blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body. The blood flow that supplies the heart is also decreased therefore decrease in cardiac output occurs, blood then is insufficient and making it difficult to circulate the blood to all parts of the body thus may cause altered heart rate and rhythm, weakness and paleness

Assessment

The patient may manifest the following:

  • Pale conjunctiva, nail beds, and buccal mucosa
  • irregular rhythm of pulse
  • bradycardia
  • generalized weakness

Diagnosis

  • Decreased cardiac output r/t [altered heart rate and rhythm] AEB [bradycardia]

Planning

  • Short Term: After 3-4 hours of nursing interventions, the patient will participate in activities that reduce the workload of the heart.
  • Long Term: After 2-3 days of nursing interventions, the patient will be able to display hemodynamic stability.

Nursing Interventions

Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess for abnormal heart and lung sounds. Allows detection of left-sided heart failure that may occur with chronic renal failure patients due to fluid volume excess as the diseased kidneys are unable to excrete water.
Monitor blood pressure and pulse. Patients with renal failure are most often hypertensive, which is attributable to excess fluid and the initiation of the rennin-angiotensin mechanism.
Assess mental status and level of consciousness. The accumulation of waste products in the bloodstream impairs oxygen transport and intake by cerebral tissues, which may manifest itself as confusion, lethargy, and altered consciousness.
Assess patient’s skin temperature and peripheral pulses. Decreased perfusion and oxygenation of tissues secondary to anemia and pump ineffectiveness may lead to decreased in temperature and peripheral pulses that are diminished and difficult to palpate.
Monitor results of laboratory and diagnostic tests. Results of the test provide clues to the status of the disease and response to treatments.
Monitor oxygen saturation and ABGs. Provides information regarding the heart’s ability to perfuse distal tissues with oxygenated blood
Give oxygen as indicated by patient symptoms, oxygen saturation and ABGs. Makes more oxygen available for gas exchange, assisting to alleviate signs of hypoxia and subsequent activity intolerance.
Implement strategies to treat fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Decreases the risk for development of cardiac output due to imbalances.
Administer cardiac glycoside agents, as ordered, for signs of left sided failure, and monitor for toxicity. Digitalis has a positive isotropic effect on the myocardium that strengthens contractility, thus improving cardiac output.
Encourage periods of rest and assist with all activities. Reduces cardiac workload and minimizes myocardial oxygen consumption.
Assist the patient in assuming a high Fowler’s position. Allows for better chest expansion, thereby improving pulmonary capacity.
Teach patient the pathophysiology of disease, medications Provides the patient with needed information for management of disease and for compliance.
Reposition patient every 2 hours To prevent occurrence of bed sores
Instruct patient to get adequate bed rest and sleep To promote relaxation to the body
Instruct the SO not to leave the client unattended To ensure safety and reduce risk for falls that may lead to injury

Evaluation

  • After nursing interventions, the patient shall have participated in activities that reduce the workload of the heart.
  • After 2-3 days of nursing interventions, the patient shall have been able to display hemodynamic stability.

2. Excess Fluid Volume

When blood flow through the renal artery is decreased, the baroreceptor reflex is stimulated and renin is released into the bloodstream. Renin interacts with angiotensinogen to produce angiotensin I. When angiotensin I contacts ACE, it is converted to angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor. Angiotensin II increases arterial vasoconstriction, promote release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerve endings, and stimulates the adrenal medulla to secrete aldosterone, which enhances sodium and water absorption. Stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system causes plasma volume to expand and preload to increase.

Assessment

The patient may manifest the following:

  • Edema of extremities
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Crackles
  • Change in mental status
  • Restlessness and anxiety

Diagnosis

  • Excessive Fluid volume related to decreased cardiac output and sodium and water retention

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will verbalize understanding of causative factors and demonstrate behaviors to resolve excess fluid volume.
  • Patient will demonstrate adequate fluid balanced AEB output equal to exceeding intake, clearing breath sounds, and decreasing edema.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Establish rapport To gain patient’s trust and cooperation
Monitor and record VS To obtain baseline data
Assess patient’s general condition To determine what approach to use in treatment
Monitor I&O every 4 hours I&O balance reflects fluid status
Weigh patient daily and compare to previous weights. Body weight is a sensitive indicator of fluid balance and an increase indicates fluid volume excess.
Auscultate breath sounds q 2hr and pm for the presence of crackles and monitor for frothy sputum production When increased pulmonary capillary hydrostatic pressure exceeds oncotic pressure, fluid moves within the alveolar septum and is evidenced by the auscultation of crackles. Frothy, pink-tinged sputum is an indicator that the client is developing pulmonary edema
Assess for presence of peripheral edema. Do not elevate legs if the client is dyspneic. Decreased systemic blood pressure to stimulation of aldosterone, which causes increased renal tubular absorption of sodium Low-sodium diet helps prevent increased sodium retention, which decreases water retention. Fluid restriction may be used to decrease fluid intake, hence decreasing fluid volume excess.
Follow low-sodium diet and/or fluid restriction The client senses thirst because the body senses dehydration. Oral care can alleviate the sensation without an increase in fluid intake.
Encourage or provide oral care q2 Heart failure causes venous congestion, resulting in increased capillary pressure. When hydrostatis pressure exceeds interstitial pressure, fluids leak out of ht ecpaillaries and present as edema in the legs, and sacrum. Elevation of legs increases venous return to the heart.
Obtain patient history to ascertain the probable cause of the fluid disturbance. May include increased fluids or sodium intake, or compromised regulatory mechanisms.
Monitor  for distended neck veins and ascites Indicates fluid overload
Evaluate urine output in response to diuretic therapy. Focus is on monitoring the response to the diuretics, rather than the actual amount voided
Assess the need for an indwelling urinary catheter. Treatment focuses on diuresis of excess fluid.
Institute/instruct patient regarding fluid restrictions as appropriate. This helps reduce extracellular volume.

3. Acute Pain

In ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis develops in the coronary arteries, causing them to become narrowed or blocked. When a coronary artery is blocked, blood flow to the area of the heart supplied by that artery is reduced. If the remaining blood flow is inadequate to meet the oxygen demands of the heart, the area may become ischemic and injured and myocardial infarction may result. Neural pain receptors are stimulated by local mechanical stress resulting from abnormal myocardial contraction.

Assessment

Patient may manifest the following

  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Restlessness

Diagnosis

  • Acute Pain

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient’s pain will be decreased.
  • Patient will demonstrate activities and behaviors that will prevent the recurrence of pain.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess patient pain for intensity using a pain rating scale, for location and for precipitating factors. To identify intensity, precipitating factors and location to assist in accurate diagnosis.
Administer or assist with self-administration of vasodilators, as ordered. The vasodilator nitroglycerin enhances blood flow to the myocardium. It reduces the amount of blood returning to the heart, decreasing preload which in turn decreases the workload of the heart.
Assess the response to medications every 5 minutes Assessing response determines effectiveness of medication and whether further interventions are required.
Provide comfort measures. To provide nonpharmacological pain management.
Establish a quiet environment. A quiet environment reduces the energy demands on the patient.
Elevate head of bed. Elevation improves chest expansion and oxygenation.
Monitor vital signs, especially pulse and blood pressure, every 5 minutes until pain subsides. Tachycardia and elevated blood pressure usually occur with angina and reflect compensatory mechanisms secondary to sympathetic nervous system stimulation.
Teach patient relaxation techniques and how to use them to reduce stress. Anginal pain is often precipitated by emotional stress that can be relieved non-pharmacological measures such as relaxation.
Teach the patient how to distinguish between angina pain and signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction. In some case, the chest pain may be more serious than stable angina. The patient needs to understand the differences in order to seek emergency care in a timely fashion.

4. Ineffective Tissue Perfusion

Due to decreased cardiac output, there is decreased preload and stroke volume thus there is decreased blood pumped out from the blood. Decrease in stroke volume decreases perfusion throughout the body.

Assessment

  • Pale conjunctiva, nail beds, and buccal mucosa
  • Generalized weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Abnormal pulse rate and rhythm
  • Bradycardia
  • Altered BP readings
  • With pitting edema on both forearms and hands
  • Bipedal pitting edema

Diagnosis

  • Ineffective tissue perfusion related to decreased cardiac output.

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will demonstrate behaviors to improve circulation.
  • Display vital signs within acceptable limits, dysrhythmias absent/controlled,and no symptoms of failure
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess patient pain for intensity using a pain rating scale, for location and for precipitating factors. To identify intensity, precipitating factors and location to assist in accurate diagnosis.
Administer or assist with self administration of vasodilators, as ordered. The vasodilator nitroglycerin enhances blood flow to the myocardium. It reduces the amount of blood returning to the heart, decreasing preload which in turn decreases the workload of the heart.
Assess the response to medications every 5 minutes. Assessing response determines effectiveness of medication and whether further interventions are required.
Give beta blockers as ordered. Beta blockers decrease oxygen consumption by the myocardium and are given to prevent subsequent angina episodes.
Establish a quiet environment. A quiet environment reduces the energy demands on the patient.
Elevate head of bed. Elevation improves chest expansion and oxygenation.
Monitor vital signs, especially pulse and blood pressure, every 5 minutes until pain subsides. Tachycardia and elevated blood pressure usually occur with angina and reflect compensatory mechanisms secondary to sympathetic nervous system stimulation.
Provide oxygen and monitor oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry, as ordered. Oxygenation increases the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood and, therefore, increases the amount of available oxygen to the myocardium, decreasing myocardial ischemia and pain.
Assess results of cardiac markers—creatinine phosphokinase, CK- MB, total LDH, LDH-1, LDH-2, troponin, and myoglobin ordered by physician. These enzymes elevate in the presence of myocardial infarction at differing times and assist in ruling out a myocardial infarction as the cause of chest pain.
Assess cardiac and circulatory status. Assessment establishes a baseline and detects changes that may indicate a change in cardiac output or perfusion.
Monitor cardiac rhythms on patient monitor and results of 12 lead ECG. Notes abnormal tracings that would indicate ischemia.
Teach patient relaxation techniques and how to use them to reduce stress. Anginal pain is often precipitated by emotional stress that can be relieved non-pharmacological measures such as relaxation.
Teach the patient how to distinguish between angina pain and signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction. In some case, the chest pain may be more serious than stable angina. The patient needs to understand the differences in order to seek emergency care in a timely fashion.
Reposition the patient every 2 hours To prevent bedsores
Instruct patient on eating a small frequent feedings To prevent heartburn and acid indigestion

5. Hyperthermia

Presence of microorganisms stimulates the release of pyrogen from the leukocytes resetting the body’s thermostat to febrile level and then there would be activation of the hypothalamus, which will result in increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine, vasoconstriction of cutaneous vessels. The heat will be produced as peripheral vasodilation results in skin flushing and skin is warm to touch.

Assessment

Patient may manifest the following:

  • Pale palpebral
  • Conjunctiva and nail beds
  • Warm to touch
  • Weakness
  • Increased in body temperature
  • Fluid or electrolyte imbalance
  • Diaphoresis
  • Hot flushed skin

Diagnosis

  • Hyperthermia RT increased metabolic rate secondary to pneumonia

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient’s temperature will  be on normal level.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess vital signs, the temperature. Vital signs provide more accurate indication.
Monitor and record all sources of fluid loss such as urine, vomiting and diarrhea. For potential fluid and electrolyte losses.
Performed tepid sponge bath. To promote heat loss by evaporation and conduction.
Maintain bed rest. To reduce metabolic demands and oxygen consumption.
Remove excess clothing and covers. Decreases warmth and increase evaporative cooling.
Increase fluid intake. To prevent dehydration.
Provide adequate nutrition, a high caloric diet. The meet the metabolic demands.
Control environmental temperature. To prevent an increase in body temperature and prevent shivering of the patient.
Adjust cooling measures on the basis of physical response. Shivering, which burns calories and increases metabolic rate in order to produce heat.
Provide information regarding normal temperature and control. This is especially necessary for patients with conditions at risk for hyperthermia.
Explain all treatments. Patients’ S.O. needs to be oriented.
Administer antipyretics as ordered. To decrease body temperature.
Control excessive shivering with medications such as Chlorpromazine and Diazepam if necessary. Shivering increases metabolic rate and body temperature.
Provide ample fluids by mouth or intravenously as ordered. If the patient is dehydrated or diaphoretic, fluid loss contributes to fever.
Provide oxygen therapy in extreme cases as ordered. Hyperthermia increases metabolism.

6. Ineffective Breathing Pattern

Ineffective Breathing Pattern occurs when there is presence of spasm and inflammation of the lung tissue and parenchyma , these results in inability of the pt to move air in and out of the lungs as needed to maintain adequate tissue oxygenation and perfusion.

Assessment

Patient may manifest the following:

  • weakness
  • rales on BLF
  • productive cough
  • frothy sputum
  • pursed lip breathing
  • tachypnea

Diagnosis

  • Ineffective breathing pattern related to fatigue and decreased lung expansion and pulmonary congestion secondary to CHF

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient’s respiratory pattern will be effective without causing fatigue
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Establish rapport To gain comfort feelings form the pt and pts SO
Monitor VS To gain baseline data
Inspect thorax for symmetry of respiratory movement Determines adequacy of breathing
Observe breathing pattern for SOB, nasal flaring, pursed-lip breathing or prolonged expiratory phase and use of accessory muscles Identifies increased work of breathing
Measure tidal volume and vital capacity Indicates volume of air moving in and out of lungs
Assess emotional response Detects use of hyperventilation as a causative factor
Position patient in optimal body alignment in semi- fowler’s position for breathing
Assist patient to use relaxation techniques Reduces muscle tension, decreases work of breathing

7. Activity Intolerance

As heart failure becomes more severe, the heart is unable to pump the amount of blood required to meet all of the body’s needs. To compensate, blood is diverted away from less-crucial areas, including the arms and legs, to supply the heart and brain. As a result, people with heart failure often feel weak (especially in their arms and legs), tired and have difficulty performing ordinary activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries

Assessment

  • Weakness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Abnormal pulse rate and rhythm

Diagnosis

  • Activity intolerance r/t imbalance O2 supply and demand

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will use identified techniques to improve activity intolerance
  • Patient will report measurable increase in activity intolerance
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Establish Rapport To gain clients participation and cooperation in the nurse patient interaction
Monitor and record Vital Signs To obtain baseline data
Assess patient’s general condition To note for any abnormalities and deformities present within the body
Adjust client’s daily activities and reduce intensity of level. Discontinue  activities that cause undesired psychological changes To prevent strain and overexertion
Instruct client in unfamiliar activities and in alternate ways of conserve energy To conserve energy and promote safety
Encourage patient to have adequate bed rest and sleep to relax the body
Provide the patient with a calm and quiet environment to provide relaxation
Assist the client in ambulation to prevent risk for falls that could lead to injury
Note presence of factors that could contribute to fatigue fatigue affects both the client’s actual and perceived ability to participate in activities
Ascertain client’s ability to stand and move about and degree of assistance needed or use of equipment to determine current status and needs associated with participation in needed or desired activities
Give client information that provides evidence of daily or weekly progress to sustain motivation of client
Encourage the client to maintain a positive attitude to enhance sense of well being
Assist the client in a semi-fowlers position to promote easy breathing
Elevate the head of the bed to maintain an open airway
Assist the client in learning and demonstrating appropriate safety measures to prevent injuries
Instruct the SO not to leave the client unattended to avoid risk for falls
Provide client with a positive atmosphere to help minimize frustration and rechannel energy
Instruct the SO to monitor response of patient to an activity and recognize the signs and symptoms to indicate need to alter activity level

8. Ineffective Airway Clearance

Mucus is produced at all times by the membranes lining the air passages. When the membranes are irritated or inflamed, excess mucus is produced and it will retain in tracheobronchial tree. The inflammation and increased in secretions block the airways making it difficult for the person to maintain a patent airway. In order to expel excessive secretions, cough reflex will be stimulated. An increased in RR will also be expected as a compensatory mechanism of the body due to obstructed airways.

Assessment

Patient may manifest the following:

  • Rales
  • Productive cough
  • Difficulty of breathing

Diagnosis

  • Ineffective airway clearance related to retained secretions

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will be able to establish and maintain airway patency

9. Impaired Gas Exchange

The exchange in oxygenation and carbon dioxide gases is impeded due to the obstruction caused by the accumulation of bronchial secretions in the alveoli. Oxygen cannot diffuse easily.

Assessment

  • Productive cough
  • Rales on auscultation
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Pale conjunctiva, nail beds and buccal mucosa
  • Fatigue
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Circumoral cyanosis

Diagnosis

  • Impaired gas exchange related to inflammation of airways and accumulation of fluid in the alveoli

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will be able to demonstrate improvement in gas exchange
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Monitor and record vital signs To obtain baseline data
Observe color of skin, mucous membranes and nail beds, noting presence of peripheral cyanosis. Cyanosis of nail beds may represent vasoconstriction or the body’s response to fever/ chills
Elevate head of bed and encourage frequent position changes. To promote maximal inspiration, enhance expectoration of secretions in order to improve ventilation
Keep back dry. To avoid coughing
Promote adequate rest periods Rest will prevent fatigue and decrease oxygen demands for metabolic demands
Change position q 2 hrs. To promote drainage of secretions
Keep environment allergen free To reduce irritant effects on airways
Suction secretions PRN To clear airway when secretions are blocking the airway.
Administer oxygen therapy as ordered. O2 therapy is indicated to increase oxygen saturation

10. Fatigue

Heart failure is a physiologic state in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the metabolic demands of the body. Since the patient has inadequate cardiac output, it can lead to hypoxic tissue and slowed removal of metabolic wastes, which in turn cause the patient to tire easily.

Assessment

Patient may manifest:

  • Weakness
  • Limited range of motion

Diagnosis

  • Fatigue

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will report improved sense of energy
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Review medication regimen. Certain medications are known to cause or exacerbate fatigue.
Assess vital signs. To evaluate fluid status and cardiopulmonary response to activity.
Determine presence or degree of sleep disturbances. Fatigue can be a consequence of sleep deprivation.
Obtain client descriptions of fatigue. To assist in evaluating impact on client’s life.
Ask client to rate fatigue. To determine degree of fatigability.
Note daily energy patterns. Helpful in determining pattern or timing of activity.
Establish realistic activity goals with client and encourage forward movement. Enhances commitment to promoting optimal outcomes.
Plan interventions to allow individually adequate rest periods. To maximize participation.
Assist with self-care needs and ambulation. To conserve energy for other tasks.
Avoid exposure to temperature and humidity extremes Has negative impact on energy level.
Instruct client in ways to monitor responses to activity and significant signs or symptoms. Indicate the need to alter activity level
Promote overall health measures To promote energy
Provide supplemental oxygen, as indicated. Presence of hypoxemia reduces oxygen available for cellular uptakes and contributes to fatigue.
Assist client to identify appropriate coping behaviors. Promote sense of control and improves self-esteem.

See Also

SIMILAR ARTICLES

  • WYCLIFF

    GOOD NDx keep it up`yeah jah bless

  • WYCLIFF

    good explanation