6 Peritonitis Nursing Care Plans


Discover evidence-based nursing care plans and effective nursing diagnoses for patients with peritonitis. Improve patient outcomes with targeted interventions and individualized care plans.

What is Peritonitis?

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 containing bacteria. When bacteria invade the peritoneum due to 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 diagnoses 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 Infection

Patients with peritonitis are at risk for infection due to several factors, including inadequate primary defense mechanisms such as compromised skin and mucosal barriers, weakened immune systems due to underlying medical conditions or immunosuppressive therapies, and invasive procedures that can introduce harmful microorganisms into the body. These factors can make it easier for bacteria and other pathogens to enter the body and cause infection, which can be particularly dangerous in the case of peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdominal lining that can lead to serious complications.

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Risk for Infection

Risk factors may include

  • Inadequate primary defenses (broken skin, traumatized tissue, altered peristalsis)
  • Inadequate secondary defenses (immunosuppression)
  • Invasive procedures

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

  • The client will achieve timely healing; be free of purulent drainage or erythema; be afebrile.
  • The client will verbalize understanding of the individual causative/risk factor(s).

Nursing Assessment and Rationales

1. Note individual risk factors. Abdominal trauma, acute appendicitis, peritoneal dialysis are common risk factors.
Influences choice of interventions.

2. Assess vital signs frequently, noting unresolved or progressing hypotension, decreased pulse pressure, tachycardia, fever, and tachypnea.
Signs of impending septic shock. Circulating endotoxins eventually produce vasodilation, a shift of fluid from circulation, and a low cardiac output state.

3. Note changes in mental status: confusion, stupor, and altered LOC.
Hypoxemia, hypotension, and acidosis can cause deteriorating mental status.

4. Note skin color, temperature, and moisture.
Warm, flushed, dry skin is an early sign of septicemia. Later manifestations include cool, clammy, pale skin and cyanosis as shock becomes refractory.

5. Monitor urine output.
Oliguria develops as a result of decreased renal perfusion, circulating toxins, and the effects of antibiotics.

6. Observe drainage from wounds and/or drains.
Provides information about the status of infection.

7. Obtain specimens and monitor results of serial blood, urine, and wound cultures.
Identifies causative microorganisms and helps in assessing the effectiveness of antimicrobial regimen.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

1. Maintain strict aseptic technique in care of abdominal drains, incisions and/or open wounds, dressings, and invasive sites. Cleanse with an appropriate solution.
Prevents access or limits the spread of infecting organisms and cross-contamination.

2. Perform and teach proper hand washing techniques.
Reduces risk of cross-contamination and/or spread of infection.

3. Maintain sterile technique when catheterizing patients, provide catheter care, and encourage perineal cleansing on a routine basis.
Prevents access, and limits bacterial growth in the urinary tract.

4. Monitor and/or restrict visitors and staff as appropriate. Provide protective isolation if indicated.
Reduces risk of exposure to and/or acquisition of secondary infection in an immunocompromised patient.

5. Assist with peritoneal aspiration, if indicated.
May be done to remove fluid and to identify infecting organisms so appropriate antibiotic therapy can be instituted.

6. Administer antimicrobials: gentamicin (Garamycin), amikacin (Amikin), and clindamycin (Cleocin), via IV/peritoneal lavage.
Therapy is directed at anaerobic bacteria and aerobic Gram-negative bacilli. Lavage may be used to remove necrotic debris and treat the inflammation that is poorly localized or diffused.

7. Prepare for surgical intervention if indicated.
Surgery may be the treatment of choice (curative) in acute, localized peritonitis, e.g., to drain localized abscess; remove peritoneal exudates, ruptured appendix or gallbladder; plicate perforated ulcer; or resect bowel.


Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy.

Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of its evidence-based approach to nursing interventions. This care plan handbook uses an easy, three-step system to guide you through client assessment, nursing diagnosis, and care planning. Includes step-by-step instructions showing how to implement care and evaluate outcomes, and help you build skills in diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking.

Nursing Care Plans – Nursing Diagnosis & Intervention (10th Edition)
Includes over two hundred care plans that reflect the most recent evidence-based guidelines. New to this edition are ICNP diagnoses, care plans on LGBTQ health issues and on electrolytes and acid-base balance.

NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
The definitive guide to nursing diagnoses is reviewed and approved by the NANDA International. In this new version of a pioneering text, all introductory chapters have been rewritten to provide nurses with the essential information they need to comprehend assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the purpose and application of taxonomic organization at the bedside. A total of 46 new nursing diagnoses and 67 amended nursing diagnostics are presented.

Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions, and Rationales
Quick-reference tool includes all you need to identify the correct diagnoses for efficient patient care planning. The sixteenth edition includes the most recent nursing diagnoses and interventions from NANDA-I 2021-2023 and an alphabetized listing of nursing diagnoses covering more than 400 disorders.

Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care 
Identify interventions to plan, individualize, and document care for more than 800 diseases and disorders. Only in the Nursing Diagnosis Manual will you find for each diagnosis…. subjectively and objectively – sample clinical applications, prioritized action/interventions with rationales – a documentation section, and much more!

All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource – E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health 
Includes over 100 care plans for medical-surgical, maternity/OB, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health. Interprofessional “patient problems” focus familiarizes you with how to speak to patients.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

More nursing care plans related to gastrointestinal disorders:


Matt Vera, a registered nurse since 2009, leverages his experiences as a former student struggling with complex nursing topics to help aspiring nurses as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs, simplifying the learning process, breaking down complicated subjects, and finding innovative ways to assist students in reaching their full potential as future healthcare providers.

1 thought on “6 Peritonitis Nursing Care Plans”

  1. 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.


Leave a Comment

Share to...