11 Pneumonia Nursing Care Plans

All you need to know about pneumonia nursing care plans.

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In this guide are pneumonia nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis, nursing interventions and nursing assessment for pneumonia. Nursing interventions for pneumonia and care plan goals for patients with pneumonia include measures to assist in effective coughing, maintain a patent airway, decreasing viscosity and tenaciousness of secretions, and assist in suctioning.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung parenchyma, associated with alveolar edema and congestion that impair gas exchange. Pneumonia is caused by a bacterial or viral infection that is spread by droplets or by contact and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The prognosis is typically good for people who have normal lungs and adequate host defenses before the onset of pneumonia. Pneumonia is a particular concern in high-risk patients: persons who are very young or very old, people who smoke, bedridden, malnourished, hospitalized, immunocompromised, or exposed to MRSA.

Types of Pneumonia

There are two types of pneumonia: community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), or hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) or also known as nosocomial pneumonia.

Pneumonia may also be classified depending on its location and radiologic appearance. Bronchopneumonia (bronchial pneumonia) involves the terminal bronchioles and alveoli. Interstitial (reticular) pneumonia involves inflammatory response within lung tissue surrounding the air spaces or vascular structures rather than the area passages themselves. Alveolar (or acinar) pneumonia involves fluid accumulation in the lung’s distal air spaces. Necrotizing pneumonia causes the death of a portion of lung tissue surrounded by a viable tissue.

Pneumonia is also classified based on its microbiologic etiology – they can be viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoan, mycobacterial, mycoplasmal, or rickettsial in origin.

Aspiration pneumonia, another type of pneumonia, results from vomiting and aspiration of gastric or oropharyngeal contents into the trachea and lungs.

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptoms of pneumonia are coughing, sputum production, pleuritic chest pain, shaking chills, rapid shallow breathing, fever, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, pneumonia could complicate to hypoxemia, respiratory failure, pleural effusion, empyema, lung abscess, and bacteremia.

Nursing care plan (NCP) and care management for patients with pneumonia start with an assessment of the patient’ medical history, performing respiratory assessment every four (4) hours, physical examination, and ABG measurements. Supportive interventions include oxygen therapy, suctioning, coughing, deep breathing, adequate hydration, and mechanical ventilation. Other nursing interventions are detailed on the nursing diagnoses in the subsequent sections.

Here are 11 nursing diagnosis common to pneumonia nursing care plans (NCP), they are as follows: 

  1. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  2. Impaired Gas Exchange
  3. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  4. Risk for Infection
  5. Acute Pain
  6. Activity Intolerance
  7. Hyperthermia
  8. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume
  9. Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  10. Deficient Knowledge
  11. Deficient Fluid Volume
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Increased sputum production in pneumonia comes with frequent coughing. Persistent coughing can be painful therefore the need for Acute Pain nursing diagnosis.

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Acute Pain

Related Factors

Common related factors for acute pain nursing diagnosis:

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  • Inflammation of lung parenchyma
  • Cellular reactions to circulating toxins
  • Persistent coughing

Defining Characteristics

The common assessment cues that could serve as defining characteristics or part of your “as evidenced by” in your diagnostic statement.

  • Reports of discomfort: pleuritic chest pain, headache, muscle/joint pain
  • Guarding of affected area
  • Self-focused
  • Moaning, restlessness
  • Facial mask, distraction behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased BP
  • Tachypnea

Desired Outcomes

Goals and expected outcomes for acute pain nursing diagnosis:

  • Patient will verbalize relief/control of pain at level less than 3 to 4 using a rating scale of 0 to 10.
  • Patient will demonstrate relaxed manner, resting/sleeping and engaging in activity appropriately.
  • Patient will verbalize understanding of nonpharmacological interventions for pain relief.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

The following measures are to address acute pain related to persistent coughing. These nursing interventions and actions are for pain relief to facilitate effective mobilization of secretions through coughing and deep breathing exercises.

Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assessment
Assess pain characteristics: sharp, constant, stabbing. Investigate changes in character, location, or intensity of pain. Assess reports of pain with breathing or coughing. Chest pain, usually present to some degree with pneumonia, may also herald the onset of complications of pneumonia, such as pericarditis and endocarditis.
Monitor vital signs. Changes in heart rate or BP may indicate that patient is experiencing pain, especially when other reasons for changes in vital signs have been ruled out.
Therapeutic Interventions
Provide comfort measures: back rubs, position changes, quite music, massage. Encourage use of relaxation and/or breathing exercises. Non-analgesic measures administered with a gentle touch can lessen discomfort and augment therapeutic effects of analgesics. Patient involvement in pain control measures promotes independence and enhances sense of well-being.
Offer frequent oral hygiene. Mouth breathing and oxygen therapy can irritate and dry out mucous membranes, potentiating general discomfort.
Instruct and assist patient in chest splinting techniques during coughing episodes. Aids in control of chest discomfort while enhancing the effectiveness of cough effort.
Administer antitussives as indicated. Do not suppress a productive cough; moderate amounts of analgesics are used to relieve pleuritic pain. These medications may be used to suppress non-productive cough or reduce excess mucus, thereby enhancing general comfort.

Coughing is necessary to mobilize secretions and suppressing cough will cause retained secretions and delay resolution of pneumonia.

Administer analgesics as prescribed. Encourage patient to take analgesics before discomfort becomes severe. Medications allow for pain relief and the ability to deep breathe and cough. Analgesics help prevent peak periods of pain.
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See Also

You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Related Nursing Care Plans

Related nursing diagnoses you can use to craft another pneumonia nursing care plans.

References and Sources

Recommended journals, books, and other interesting materials to help you learn more about Pneumonia Nursing Care Plans:

  • Black, J. M., & Hawks, J. H. (2009). Medical-surgical nursing: Clinical management for positive outcomes (Vol. 1). A. M. Keene (Ed.). Saunders Elsevier. [Link]
  • Dempsey, C. L. (1995). Nursing Home‐Acquired Pneumonia: Outcomes from a Clinical Process Improvement Program. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, 15(1P2), 33S-38S. [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]
  • Head, B. J., Scherb, C. A., Reed, D., Conley, D. M., Weinberg, B., Kozel, M., … & Moorhead, S. (2011). Nursing diagnoses, interventions, and patient outcomes for hospitalized older adults with pneumonia. Research in gerontological nursing4(2), 95-105. [Link]
  • Yoshino, A., Ebihara, T., Ebihara, S., Fuji, H., & Sasaki, H. (2001). Daily oral care and risk factors for pneumonia among elderly nursing home patients. Jama286(18), 2235-2236. [Link]

Originally published January 10, 2010. 

38 COMMENTS

  1. I am a nurse in Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia. I had read this article website. I am very interested in this article because it is understandable and easy to remember,and it can help me use it to improve my knowledge.And also I can take this article to teach and present in my class and my colleagues.

  2. Am a student nurse at The Nairobi women’s Hospital Medical Training college i came across this website yesterday and its just wonderful and i really liked it ,its simple and easy to understand

  3. I am a nursing student at the University of Eastern Africa,Eldoret Kenya.This article is one of the best that explains the Nursing care plan.it has explained very well the nursing process.

  4. Hello, I am Reta Anggita. I am a student of bachelor nursing in University of Indonesia :). I am so helped by this article :)

  5. Hi. I am a Nursing student in Florida, USA. Doing a concept map on pneumonia and this greatly assisted me. Thank you.

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  7. I am a Nurning Student year 2 in Tonga,i am very glad to read this information on pneumonia i get alot of knowledge from this page and use it in my daily practice

  8. Thank you for this wonderful website. Currently, I am a 2nd year nursing student at San Beda College. This article is really helpful to me because I duty in the OB Ward and one of my patient has Pneumonia by the CXR. Thank you again! PAX!

  9. I JUST LOVE HOW SIMPLIFIED THIS NCP IS AND ITS EVIDENCE BASED,I TRIED TO DO SOME OF THE INTERVENTIONS AND THEY WORKED FOR MY PATIENT,THIS SITE HAS REALLY HELPED ME ALOT IN MY STUDIES AS A STUDENT,THANKS MATT!

  10. Was introduced to this site, and its outstanding I must say. Well structured to the core for good understanding when readin. Grateful, thanks a million..

  11. You are Godsent! Thank you for these well done pneumonia nursing care plans! I love how simple and how they’re easy to understand!

  12. Hi I’m Ngcambelo Pinky .I am a student nurse from Durban thank you so much for the article is more helpful to me

  13. Hi there I was writing few things from your this topic into my assignment but I couldn’t write a proper reference about this topic, can you please help me?

  14. Willingston Edward here, I am also a Bachelorof nursing student in the university of Botswana. Just wanna say Thank you.🔥🔥🔥

  15. Hello Vera
    I’m a student nurse at The Aga Khan University in Uganda and this article helps me alot, it’s so simplified and easy to memorise.
    Thank you for the great work you are doing and may God bless you more.

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