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4 Appendectomy Nursing Care Plans

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Definition

Appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. An inflamed appendix may be removed using a laparoscopic approach with laser. However, the presence of multiple adhesions, retroperitoneal positioning of the appendix, or the likelihood of rupture necessitates an open (traditional) procedure.

Studies indicate that laparoscopic appendectomy results in significantly less postoperative pain, earlier resumption of solid foods, a shorter hospital stay, lower wound infection rate, and a faster return to normal activities than open appendectomy.

Diagnostic Studies

  • WBC: Leukocytosis above 12,000/mm3, neutrophil count often elevated to greater than 75%.
  • Abdominal x-rays: May reveal hardened bit of fecal material in appendix (fecalith), localized ileus.
  • Ultrasound or CT scan: May be done for differentiation of appendicitis from other causes of abdominal pain (e.g., perforating ulcer, cholecystitis, reproductive organ infections) or to localize drainable abscesses.

Nursing Priorities

  1. Prevent complications.
  2. Promote comfort.
  3. Provide information about surgical procedure/prognosis, treatment needs, and potential complications.

Discharge Goals

  1. Complications prevented/minimized.
  2. Pain alleviated/controlled.
  3. Surgical procedure/prognosis, therapeutic regimen, and possible complications understood.
  4. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.

Nursing Care Plans

Here are 4 Nursing Care Plan (NCP) for appendectomy.

Acute Pain

May be related to

  • Distension of intestinal tissues by inflammation
  • Presence of surgical incision

Possibly evidenced by

  • Reports of pain
  • Facial grimacing, muscle guarding; distraction behaviors
  • Autonomic responses

Desired Outcomes

  • Report pain is relieved/controlled.
  • Appear relaxed, able to sleep/rest appropriately.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
 Assess pain, noting location, characteristics, severity (0–10 scale). Investigate and report changes in pain as appropriate. Useful in monitoring effectiveness of medication, progression of healing. Changes in characteristics of pain may indicate developing abscess/peritonitis, requiring prompt medical evaluation and intervention.
 Provide accurate, honest information to patient/SO. Being informed about progress of situation provides emotional support, helping to decrease anxiety
 Keep at rest in semi-Fowler’s position. Gravity localizes inflammatory exudate into lower abdomen or pelvis, relieving abdominal tension, which is accentuated by supine position.
 Encourage early ambulation. Promotes normalization of organ function, e.g., stimulates peristalsis and passing of flatus, reducing abdominal discomfort.
Provide diversional activities Refocuses attention, promotes relaxation, and may enhance coping abilities.
 Keep NPO/maintain NG suction initially. Decreases discomfort of early intestinal peristalsis and gastric irritation/vomiting.
 Administer analgesics as indicated. Relief of pain facilitates cooperation with other therapeutic interventions, e.g., ambulation, pulmonary toilet.
 Place ice bag on abdomen periodically during initial 24–48 hr, as appropriate. Soothes and relieves pain through desensitization of nerve endings. Note: Do not use heat, because it may cause tissue congestion.

Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

Risk factors may include

  • Preoperative vomiting, postoperative restrictions (e.g., NPO)
  • Hypermetabolic state (e.g., fever, healing process)
  • Inflammation of peritoneum with sequestration of fluid

Desired Outcomes

  • Hydration (NOC)
  • Maintain adequate fluid balance as evidenced by moist mucous membranes, good skin turgor, stable vital signs, and individually adequate urinary output.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
 Monitor BP and pulse. Variations help identify fluctuating intravascular volumes
 Inspect mucous membranes; assess skin turgor and capillary refill. Indicators of adequacy of peripheral circulation and cellular hydration.
 Monitor I&O; note urine color/concentration, specific gravity. Decreasing output of concentrated urine with increasing specific gravity suggests dehydration/need for increased fluids.
 Auscultate bowel sounds. Note passing of flatus, bowel movement. Indicators of return of peristalsis, readiness to begin oral intake. Note: This may not occur in the hospital if patient has had a laparoscopic procedure and been discharged in less than 24 hr.
 Provide clear liquids in small amounts when oral intake is resumed, and progress diet as tolerated. Reduces risk of gastric irritation/vomiting to minimize fluid loss.
Give frequent mouth care with special attention to protection of the lips. Dehydration results in drying and painful cracking of the lips and mouth.
Maintain gastric/intestinal suction, as indicated. An NG tube may be inserted preoperatively and maintained in immediate postoperative phase to decompress the bowel, promote intestinal rest, prevent vomiting.
 Administer IV fluids and electrolytes. The peritoneum reacts to irritation/infection by producing large amounts of intestinal fluid, possibly reducing the circulating blood volume, resulting in dehydration and relative electrolyte imbalances.

Risk for Infection

Risk factors may include

  • Inadequate primary defenses; perforation/rupture of the appendix; peritonitis; abscess formation
  • Invasive procedures, surgical incision

Desired Outcomes

  • Achieve timely wound healing; free of signs of infection/inflammation, purulent drainage, erythema, and fever.

Nursing Priorities

  1. Prevent complications.
  2. Promote comfort.
  3. Provide information about surgical procedure/prognosis, treatment needs, and potential complications.

Discharge Goals

  1. Complications prevented/minimized.
  2. Pain alleviated/controlled.
  3. Surgical procedure/prognosis, therapeutic regimen, and possible complications understood.
  4. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
 Practice/instruct in good handwashing and aseptic wound care. Encourage/provide perineal care. Reduces risk of spread of bacteria.
 Inspect incision and dressings. Note characteristics of drainage from wound/drains (if inserted), presence of erythema. Provides for early detection of developing infectious process, and/or monitors resolution of preexisting peritonitis.
 Monitor vital signs. Note onset of fever, chills, diaphoresis, changes in mentation, reports of increasing abdominal pain. Suggestive of presence of infection/developing sepsis, abscess, peritonitis.
 Obtain drainage specimens if indicated. Gram’s stain, culture, and sensitivity testing isuseful in identifying causative organism and choice of therapy.
 Administer antibiotics as appropriate. Antibiotics given before appendectomy are primarily for prophylaxis of wound infection and are not continued postoperatively. Therapeutic antibiotics are administered if the appendix is ruptured/abscessed or peritonitis has developed.
 Prepare for/assist with incision and drainage (I&D) if indicated. May be necessary to drain contents of localized abscess.

Knowledge Deficit

May be related to

  • Lack of exposure/recall; information misinterpretation
  • Unfamiliarity with information resources

Possibly evidenced by

  • Questions; request for information; verbalization of problem/concerns
  • Statement of misconception
  • Inaccurate follow-through of instruction
  • Development of preventable complications

Desired Outcomes

  • Verbalize understanding of disease process and potential complications.
  • Verbalize understanding of therapeutic needs.
  • Participate in treatment regimen.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
 Identify symptoms requiring medical evaluation, e.g., increasing pain; edema/erythema of wound; presence of drainage, fever. Prompt intervention reduces risk of serious complications, e.g., delayed wound healing, peritonitis.
 Review postoperative activity restrictions, e.g., heavy lifting, exercise, sex, sports, driving. Provides information for patient to plan for return to usual routines without untoward incidents.
 Encourage progressive activities as tolerated with periodic rest periods. Prevents fatigue, promotes healing and feeling of well-being, and facilitates resumption of normal activities.
 Recommend use of mild laxative/stool softeners as necessary and avoidance of enemas. Assists with return to usual bowel function; prevents undue straining for defecation.
 Discuss care of incision, including dressing changes, bathing restrictions, and return to physician for suture/staple removal. Understanding promotes cooperation with therapeutic regimen, enhancing healing and recovery process.

See Also

  1. Appendicitis Nursing Management and Interventions

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