This nursing care plan guide contains 18 NANDA nursing diagnosis and some priority aspects of clinical care for patients with heart failure. Learn about the nursing interventions and assessment cues for heart failure including the goals, defining characteristics, and related factors for each nursing diagnosis.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure (HF) or Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a physiologic state in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body following any structural or functional impairment of ventricular filling or ejection of blood.
Heart failure results from changes in the systolic or diastolic function of the left ventricle. The heart fails when, because of intrinsic disease or structural it cannot handle a normal blood volume or, in absence of disease, cannot tolerate a sudden expansion in blood volume. Heart failure is a progressive and chronic condition that is managed by significant lifestyle changes and adjunct medical therapy to improve quality of life. Heart failure is caused by a variety of cardiovascular conditions such as chronic hypertension, coronary artery disease, and valvular disease.
Heart failure is not a disease itself, instead, the term refers to a clinical syndrome characterized by manifestations of volume overload, inadequate tissue perfusion, and poor exercise tolerance. Whatever the cause, pump failure results in hypoperfusion of tissues, followed by pulmonary and systemic venous congestion.
Heart failure can affect the heart’s left side, right side, or both sides. Though, it usually affects the left side first. The signs and symptoms of heart failure are defined based on which ventricle is affected—left-sided heart failure causes a different set of manifestations than right-sided heart failure.
Left-Sided Heart Failure
- Dyspnea on exertion
- Pulmonary congestion, pulmonary crackles
- Cough that is initially dry and nonproductive
- Frothy sputum that is sometimes blood-tinged
- Inadequate tissue perfusion
- Weak, thready pulse
- Oliguria, nocturia
Right-Sided Heart Failure
- Congestion of the viscera and peripheral tissues
- Edema of the lower extremities
- Enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly)
- Anorexia, nausea
- Weight gain (fluid retention)
Because heart failure causes vascular congestion, it is often called congestive heart failure, although most cardiac specialist no longer uses this term. Other terms used to denote heart failure include chronic heart failure, cardiac decompensation, cardiac insufficiency, and ventricular failure.
Nursing care plan goals for patients with heart failure includes support to improve heart pump function by various nursing interventions, prevention, and identification of complications, and providing a teaching plan for lifestyle modifications. Nursing interventions include promoting activity and reducing fatigue to relieve the symptoms of fluid overload.
Here are 18 nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with Heart Failure:
- Decreased Cardiac Output
- Activity Intolerance
- Excess Fluid Volume
- Risk for Impaired Gas Exchange
- Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
- Deficient Knowledge
- Acute Pain
- Ineffective Tissue Perfusion
- Ineffective Breathing Pattern
- Ineffective Airway Clearance
- Impaired Gas Exchange
- Risk for Decreased Cardiac Output
- Other Nursing Care Plans
In ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis develops in the coronary arteries, causing them to become narrowed or blocked. When a coronary artery is blocked, blood flow to the area of the heart supplied by that artery is reduced. If the remaining blood flow is inadequate to meet the oxygen demands of the heart, the area may become ischemic and injured and myocardial infarction may result. Neural pain receptors are stimulated by local mechanical stress resulting from abnormal myocardial contraction.
Patient may manifest the following
- Difficulty of breathing
- Chest pain
Planning & Desired Outcomes
- Patient’s pain will be decreased.
- Patient will demonstrate activities and behaviors that will prevent the recurrence of pain.
|Assess patient pain for intensity using a pain rating scale, for location and for precipitating factors.||To identify intensity, precipitating factors and location to assist in accurate diagnosis.|
|Administer or assist with self-administration of vasodilators, as ordered.||The vasodilator nitroglycerin enhances blood flow to the myocardium. It reduces the amount of blood returning to the heart, decreasing preload which in turn decreases the workload of the heart.|
|Assess the response to medications every 5 minutes||Assessing response determines effectiveness of medication and whether further interventions are required.|
|Provide comfort measures.||To provide non pharmacological pain management.|
|Establish a quiet environment.||A quiet environment reduces the energy demands on the patient.|
|Elevate head of bed.||Elevation improves chest expansion and oxygenation.|
|Monitor vital signs, especially pulse and blood pressure, every 5 minutes until pain subsides.||Tachycardia and elevated blood pressure usually occur with angina and reflect compensatory mechanisms secondary to sympathetic nervous system stimulation.|
|Teach patient relaxation techniques and how to use them to reduce stress.||Anginal pain is often precipitated by emotional stress that can be relieved non-pharmacological measures such as relaxation.|
|Teach the patient how to distinguish between angina pain and signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction.||In some case, the chest pain may be more serious than stable angina. The patient needs to understand the differences in order to seek emergency care in a timely fashion.|
References and Sources
Recommended references and sources for heart failure nursing care plan:
- Black, J. M., & Hawks, J. H. (2009). Medical-surgical nursing: Clinical management for positive outcomes (Vol. 1). A. M. Keene (Ed.). Saunders Elsevier. [Link]
- Doenges, M. E., Moorhouse, M. F., & Murr, A. C. (2016). Nurse’s pocket guide: Diagnoses, prioritized interventions, and rationales. FA Davis. [Link]
- Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2016). Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Link]
- Jaarsma, T., Strömberg, A., De Geest, S., Fridlund, B., Heikkila, J., Mårtensson, J., … & Thompson, D. R. (2006). Heart failure management programmes in Europe. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 5(3), 197-205. [Link]
- Scott, L. D., Setter-Kline, K., & Britton, A. S. (2004). The effects of nursing interventions to enhance mental health and quality of life among individuals with heart failure. Applied Nursing Research, 17(4), 248-256. [Link]
You may also like the following posts and care plans:
- Nursing Care Plan: The Ultimate Guide and Database – the ultimate database of nursing care plans for different diseases and conditions! Get the complete list!
- Nursing Diagnosis: The Complete Guide and List – archive of different nursing diagnoses with their definition, related factors, goals and nursing interventions with rationale.
Cardiac Care Plans
Nursing care plans about the different diseases of the cardiovascular system:
- Angina Pectoris (Coronary Artery Disease) | 4 Care Plans
- Cardiac Arrhythmia (Digitalis Toxicity) | 3 Care Plans
- Cardiac Catheterization | 4 Care Plans
- Cardiogenic Shock | 5 Care Plans
- Congenital Heart Disease | 5 Care Plans
- Heart Failure | 16+ Care Plans
- Hypertension | 6 Care Plans
- Hypovolemic Shock | 4 Care Plans
- Myocardial Infarction | 7 Care Plans
- Pacemaker Therapy | 7 Care Plans
Originally published on July 14, 2013.