6 Peritonitis Nursing Care Plans


Peritonitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the peritoneum, the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the visceral organs. Inflammation may extend throughout the peritoneum or may be localized as an abscess. Peritonitis commonly decreases intestinal motility and causes intestinal distention with gas. mortality is 10% with death usually a result of bowel obstruction.

The peritoneum is sterile, despite the GI tract normally contains bacteria. When bacteria invade the peritoneum due to an inflammation or perforation of the GI tract peritonitis usually occurs. Bacterial invasion usually results from appendicitis, diverticulitis, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, volvulus, abdominal neoplasms, or a stab wound. It may also be associated with peritoneal dialysis.

Nursing Care Plans

Early treatment of GI inflammation conditions and preoperative and postoperative therapy help prevent peritonitis. Patient care includes monitoring and measures to prevent complications and the spread of infection.

Here are six (6) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with peritonitis:


  1. Risk for Infection
  2. Deficient Fluid Volume
  3. Acute Pain
  4. Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  5. Anxiety/Fear
  6. Deficient Knowledge
  7. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans

Acute Pain

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Chemical irritation of the parietal peritoneum (toxins)
  • Trauma to tissues
  • Accumulation of fluid in abdominal/peritoneal cavity (abdominal distension)

Possibly evidenced by

  • Verbalizations of pain
  • Muscle guarding, rebound tenderness
  • Facial mask of pain, self-focus
  • Distraction behavior, autonomic/emotional responses (anxiety)

Desired Outcomes

  • Report pain is relieved/controlled.
  • Demonstrate use of relaxation skills, other methods to promote comfort.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Investigate pain reports, noting location, duration, intensity(0–10 scale), and characteristics (dull, sharp, constant).Changes in location or intensity are not uncommon but may reflect developing complications. Pain tends to become constant, more intense, and diffuse over the entire abdomen as inflammatory process accelerates; pain may localize if an abscess develops.
Maintain semi-Fowler’s position as indicated.Facilitates fluid or wound drainage by gravity, reducing diaphragmatic irritation and/or abdominal tension, and thereby reducing pain.
Move patient slowly and deliberately, splinting painful area.Reduces muscle tension and guarding, which may help minimize pain of movement.
Provide comfort measures: massage, back rubs, deep breathing. Instruct in relaxation and visualization exercises. Provide diversional activities.Promotes relaxation and may enhance patient’s coping abilities by refocusing attention.
Provide frequent oral care. Remove noxious environmental stimuli.Reduces nausea and vomiting, which can increase intra-abdominal pressure and pain.
Administer medications as indicated: 
Reduce metabolic rate and intestinal irritation from circulating or local toxins, which aids in pain relief and promotes healing. Pain is usually severe and may require narcotic pain control. Analgesics may be withheld during initial diagnostic process because they can mask signs and symptoms.
Reduce nausea and vomiting, which can increase abdominal pain.
  • Antipyretics: acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Reduce discomfort associated with fever.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

More nursing care plans related to gastrointestinal disorders:


Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
  • Thanks Matt Vera for the good work may you continue helping me with such good information since I’m also a nursing student who is almost graduating.

  • >