7 Meningitis Nursing Care Plans


Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord as a result of either bacteria, viral or fungal infection. Bacterial infections may be caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b, Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcal meningitis), and Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal meningitis). Those at greatest risk for this disease are infants between 6 and 12 months of age with most cases occurring between 1 month and 5 years of age. The most common route of infection is vascular dissemination from an infection in the nasopharynx or sinuses, or one implanted as a result of wounds, skull fracture, lumbar puncture, or surgical procedure. Viral (aseptic) meningitis is caused by a variety of viral agents and usually associated with measles, mumps, herpes, or enteritis. This form of meningitis is self-limiting and treated symptomatically for 3 to 10 days.

Treatment includes hospitalization to differentiate between the two types of meningitis, isolation and management of symptoms, and prevention of complications.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care plan goals for a child with meningitis include attain adequate cerebral tissue perfusion through reduction in ICP, maintain normal body temperature, protection against injury, enhance coping measures, accurate perception of environmental stimuli, restoring normal cognitive functions and prevention of complications.

Here are seven (7) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for meningitis:

  1. Ineffective Tissue Perfusion (Cerebral)
  2. Hyperthermia
  3. Acute Pain
  4. Disturbed Sensory Perception
  5. Anxiety
  6. Deficient Knowledge
  7. Risk for Injury

Acute Pain

Acute Pain: Unpleasant sensory and emotional experience arising from actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage; sudden or slow onset of any intensity from mild to severe with anticipated or predictable end and a duration of <6 months.

May be related to

  • Increased intracranial pressure
  • Meningeal irritation

Possibly evidenced by

  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nuchal rigidity

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will express feelings of comfort and relief of pain.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess for headache and photophobia.When the meninges of the brain become infected, it can lead to inflammation that triggers severe headaches; Meningitis also causes hypersensitivity to bright lights.
Assess for Kernig’s sign (pain and resistance on passive knee extension with hips fully flexed) and Brudzinski’s sign (hips flex on bending the head forward).These are used to assess for any sign of meningeal irritation.
Maintain a quiet environment and keep child’s room darkened.Darkening the room may decrease photophobia.
Prevent stimulation and restrict visitors.Stimulation can increase intracranial pressure, hence intensifying the pain.
Control environment to encourage rest.Environmental changes such as increased noise and glaring light cause sensory overload that promotes cerebral irritation leading to convulsions.
Turn the client often and position the client carefully.Promotes comfort and reduce irritation and agitation.
Assist ROM exercises.Prevent joint stiffness and neck pain.
Administer antibiotic and corticosteroid as prescribed.Antibiotic and corticosteroid therapy are used to reduce the inflammation and therefore decrease pain.
Administer analgesics such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs as prescribed.NSAIDs are given to relieve pain.

See Also

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