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

Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements

Risk factors may include

  • Nausea/vomiting, intestinal dysfunction
  • Metabolic abnormalities; increased metabolic needs

Possibly evidenced by

  • Not applicable. A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms, as the problem has not occurred and nursing interventions are directed at prevention.

Desired Outcomes

  • Maintain usual weight and positive nitrogen balance.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Auscultate bowel sounds, noting absent or hyperactive sounds.Although bowel sounds are frequently absent, inflammation and irritation of the intestine may be accompanied by intestinal hyperactivity, diminished water absorption, and diarrhea.
Monitor NG tube output. Note presence of vomiting, diarrhea.Large amounts of gastric aspirant and vomiting and diarrhea suggest bowel obstruction, requiring further evaluation.
Measure abdominal girth.Provides quantitative evidence of changes in gastric or intestinal distension and/or accumulation of ascites.
Assess abdomen frequently for return to softness, reappearance of normal bowel sounds, and passage of flatus.Indicates return of normal bowel function and ability to resume oral intake.
Weigh regularly.Initial losses or gains reflect changes in hydration, but sustained losses suggest nutritional deficit.
Monitor BUN, protein, prealbumin and albumin, glucose, nitrogen balance as indicated.Reflects organ function and nutritional status and needs.
Advance diet as tolerated. Advance from clear liquids to soft food.Careful progression of diet when intake is resumed reduces risk of gastric irritation.
Administer TPN as indicated.Promotes nutrient utilization and positive nitrogen balance in patients who are unable to assimilate nutrients in a normal fashion.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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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.

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