6 Mechanical Ventilation Nursing Care Plans

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Mechanical ventilation can partially or fully replace spontaneous breathing. Its main purpose is to improved gas exchange and decreased work of breathing by delivering preset concentrations of oxygen at an adequate tidal volume. An artificial airway (endotracheal tube) or tracheostomy is needed to a client requiring mechanical ventilation. This therapy is used most often in clients with hypoxemia and alveolar hypoventilation. Although the mechanical ventilator will facilitate movement of gases into and out of the pulmonary system, it cannot guarantee gas exchange at the pulmonary and tissue levels. Caring for a client on mechanical ventilation has become an indispensable part of nursing care in critical care or general medical-surgical units, rehabilitation facilities, and the home care settings. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a significant nosocomial infection that is associated with endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation.

Nursing Care Plans

The major goals for a client receiving mechanical ventilation include improvement of gas exchange, maintenance of a patent airway, prevention of trauma, promoting optimal communication,  minimizing anxiety, and absence of cardiac and pulmonary complications.

Here are six (6) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for patients who are under mechanical ventilation: 

  1. Impaired Spontaneous Ventilation
  2. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  3. Anxiety
  4. Deficient Knowledge
  5. Risk for Ineffective Protection
  6. Risk for Decreased Cardiac Output
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Deficient Knowledge

Deficient Knowledge: Absence or deficiency of cognitive information related to specific topic.

May be related to

  • Cognitive limitation
  • Decreased motivation to learn
  • New treatment
  • New environment

Possibly evidenced by

  • Anxiety
  • Expressing inaccurate information
  • Questioning members of health care team

Desired Outcomes

  • Client or significant others demonstrate knowledge of mechanical ventilation and care involved.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the client’s perception and understanding of mechanical ventilation.This information provides an important starting point in education.
Assess the client’s readiness and ability to learn.Educational interventions must be designed to meet the learning limitations, motivation, and needs of the client. Clients in acute care may not be able to take in much information because of fatigue, pain, sensory overload, hypoxemia, and the like.
Encourage the client or significant others to express feelings and ask questions.Questions facilitate open communication between the client and health care professionals and allow the verification of understanding and the opportunity to correct misconceptions.
Explain the importance of frequent assessment of vital signs, auscultation of breath sounds, ventilation checks.This information also helps reduce anxiety by providing a basis for actions.
Explain to the client the reason for the inability to talk while intubated. Explain alternative efforts for communicating.The endotracheal tube passes through the vocal cords and attempts to talk can cause more trauma to the cords. However, clients must understand how to use supplementary methods for communication such as paper, pen, pictures.
Explain that the client will not be able to eat or drink while intubated but assure him or her that alternative measures (IV fluids, gastric feedings, or hyperalimentation) will be taken to provide nourishment.The risk for aspiration is high if the client eats or drinks while intubated. In long-term care settings, clients may be allowed to eat and drink after a swallow evaluation.
Explain that alarms may periodically sound off, which may be normal, and that the staff will be in close proximity.Explaining expected events can help reduce anxiety.
Explain the need for suctioning as needed.This information can help reduce anxiety associated with the procedure.
Explain the weaning process and explain that extubation demonstrates adequate respiratory function and a decrease in pulmonary secretions.This information aids the client in maintaining some control.
If long-term ventilation is anticipated, discuss or plan for long-term ventilator care management and use appropriate referrals: long-term ventilator facilitates versus home care management.Continuity of care is facilitated through the use of specialty resources.
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See Also

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