3 Brain Tumor Nursing Care Plans


A brain tumor is the most common solid tumor form that may be benign, malignant or a metastatic growth from a tumor in another area of the body. Most central nervous system tumors occur at the midline in the brain stem or cerebellum and can result in increased intracranial pressure and other associated symptoms. Other tumors occur in the cerebrum.

A malignant brain tumor is the second most common type of cancer in children and has a poor prognosis as the tumor usually grows and becomes advanced before signs and symptoms appear or are detected as they are easily missed. Signs and symptoms are site and size dependent. Brain tumors are most prevalent in children 3 to 7 years of age.

Treatment options include surgery, although total removal is not usually possible, chemotherapy, and radiation, which may be administered to reduce the size of the tumor prior surgery. One or a combination of these methods may be given with each resulting in possible continuing deficits in the neurologic status.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning goals for a child with brain tumor centers on relieving pain, reducing anxiety, and promoting an understanding of the signs and symptoms of increased ICP and expected changes in body appearance related to the planned cranial surgery.

Here are three (3) nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis for brain tumor:

  1. Acute Pain
  2. Anxiety
  3. Risk for Injury

Acute Pain

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Biologic injuring agents

Possibly evidenced by

  • Verbal complains of pain
  • Headache in the frontal or occipital area that is worse during the morning and becomes worse with straining or if the head is dropped
  • Changes in vital signs
  • Hostile, tense behavior
  • Restlessness

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will rate pain as less than (specify pain rating and scale used).
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the severity and duration of a headache; observe precipitating factors, recurrence, and progressive characteristics.Provides data about the presence of a tumor as a headache is a most usual symptom in the child.
Ascertain the child’s perception of the word “pain” and ask the family what word the child normally uses. Use a pain assessment tool appropriate for age and developmental level to determine the pain intensity.Promotes better communication between child/family and nurse during the assessment.
Administer analgesic as prescribed.Used for the treatment of pain due to central nervous system tumors.
Instruct the child to refrain from sneezing, coughing, or straining during defecation.Avoids straining that trigger or aggravates a headache.
Apply a cool compress on the head for low to moderate pain.Promotes comfort and ease from a headache, reduces facial edema if present.
Provide toys, games for quiet play.Provides diversionary activity to detract from pain.
After surgical intervention, opioids such as morphine sulfate may be initially given. Monitor for side effects such as sedation and respiratory depression; use Naloxone to block the effects of opioids.Rarely side effects occur, opioids can be administered safely with appropriate monitoring.
Form a preventive strategy for pain management around the clock; note for physiologic and behavioral signs of pain.Allows immediate identification of pain which improves measures for pain relief.
Educate parents and child about analgesics, to administer in anticipation of a headache and type to give (sustained release) and that it will help to control a headache.Manages pain before it becomes severe.
Assist parents to formulate activities that will not trigger or heighten headache pain.Promotes stimulation for a child’s development needs.

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:

Other nursing care plans for pediatric conditions and diseases:


Paul Martin is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2007. Having worked as a medical-surgical nurse for five years, he handled different kinds of patients and learned how to provide individualized care to them. Now, his experiences working in the hospital is carried over to his writings to help aspiring students achieve their goals. He is currently working as a nursing instructor and have a particular interest in nursing management, emergency care, critical care, infection control, and public health. As a writer at Nurseslabs, his goal is to impart his clinical knowledge and skills to students and nurses helping them become the best version of themselves and ultimately make an impact in uplifting the nursing profession.
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