8 Liver Cirrhosis Nursing Care Plans


Liver cirrhosis, also known as hepatic cirrhosis, is a chronic hepatic disease characterized by diffuse destruction and fibrotic regeneration of hepatic cells. As necrotic tissues yields to fibrosis, the diseases alters the liver structure and normal vasculature, impairs blood and lymph flow, and ultimately causing hepatic insufficiency. Causes include malnutrition, inflammation (bacterial or viral), and poisons (e.g., alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen). Cirrhosis is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States among people ages 35 to 55 and represents a serious threat to long-term health.

These are the clinical types of cirrhosis:

  • Laennec’s cirrhosis is the most common type and occurs 30% to 50% of cirrhotic patients. Up to 90% of whom have a history of alcoholism. Liver damage results from malnutrition, especially of dietary protein, and chronic alcohol ingestion. Fibrous tissue forms in portal areas and around central veins.
  • Biliary cirrhosis occurs in 15% to 20% of patients, and results from injury or prolonged obstruction.
  • Postnecrotic cirrhosis stems from various types of hepatitis.
  • Pigment cirrhosis results from disorders such as hemochromatosis.
  • Idiopathic cirrhosis, has no known cause.
  • Noncirrhotic fibrosis may results from schistosomiasis or congenital hepatic fibrosis or may be idiopathic.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning for patients with liver cirrhosis includes promoting rest, providing adequate nutrition, skin care, reducing risk for injury, and monitoring and managing complications.

Here are eight (8) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with liver cirrhosis:

  1. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  2. Excess Fluid Volume
  3. Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
  4. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  5. Risk for Injury
  6. Risk for Acute Confusion
  7. Disturbed Body Image
  8. Deficient Knowledge
  9. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans

Disturbed Body Image

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Biophysical changes/altered physical appearance
  • Uncertainty of prognosis, changes in role function
  • Personal vulnerability
  • Self-destructive behavior (alcohol-induced disease)

Possibly evidenced by

  • Verbalization of change/restriction in lifestyle
  • Fear of rejection or reaction by others
  • Negative feelings about body/abilities
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, or powerlessness

Desired Outcomes

  • Verbalize understanding of changes and acceptance of self in the present situation.
  • Identify feelings and methods for coping with negative perception of self.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Discuss situation and encourage verbalization of fears and concerns. Explain relationship between nature of disease and symptoms.Patient is very sensitive to body changes and may also experience feelings of guilt when cause is related to alcohol or other drug use.
Support and encourage patient; provide care with a positive, friendly attitude.Caregivers sometimes allow judgmental feelings to affect the care of patient and need to make every effort to help patient feel valued as a person.
Encourage family/SO to verbalize feelings, visit freely and participate in care.Family members may feel guilty about patient’s condition and may be fearful of impending death. They need nonjudgmental emotional support and free access to patient. Participation in care helps them feel useful and promotes trust between staff, patient, and SO.
Assist patient/SO to cope with change in appearance; suggest clothing that does not emphasize altered appearance (color of clothes, etc).Patient may present unattractive appearance as a result of jaundice, ascites, ecchymotic areas. Providing support can enhance self-esteem and promote patient sense of control.
Refer to support services. Counselors, psychiatric resources, social service, clery and alcohol treatment program may help.Increased vulnerability and concerns associated with this illness may require services of additional professional resources.

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.
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