4 Tonsillitis Nursing Care Plans


Tonsillitis refers to inflammation and infection of the tonsils, which consist of pairs of lymph tissue in the nasal and oropharyngeal passages. Bacterial or viral pharyngitis usually leads to the infection of the tonsils. Inflammation and edema of the tonsillar tissue makes swallowing and talking difficult, and forces the child to breathe through the mouth. Advanced infection can result in cellulitis to adjacent tissue or abscess formation which may require drainage.

Management of bacterial tonsillitis is through the use of supportive measures such as adequate hydration, rest, antipyretics, analgesic, and complete course of an antibiotic such as penicillin. A client with chronic tonsillitis is advised to undergo tonsillectomy which is the removal of the palatine tonsils located in the oropharynx. The adenoids are tonsils located in the nasopharynx and also sometimes removed by adenoidectomy.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care plan goals for a child experiencing tonsillitis include maintaining a patent airway, preventing aspiration, relieving pain, especially while swallowing, encouraging fluid intake, and understanding of post-discharge care and possible complications.

Here are four (4) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for tonsillitis:

  1. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  2. Acute Pain
  3. Deficient Knowledge (Postoperative Home Care)
  4. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

Acute Pain

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Surgical incision

Possibly evidenced by

  • Client statements about pain
  • Pain rating on a scale
  • Nonverbal indications of discomfort such as grimacing, crying, clinging to parent

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will state level of pain is decreased and will appear more relaxed/comfortable.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess pain using appropriate pain scale for child’s age and development. Use of a pain scale allows objective measurement of subjective pain perception.
Observe child for nonverbal indications of pain such as crying, grimacing, irritability. Provides additional information about pain. The child may find discomfort in speaking.
Avoid hot, spicy, and coarse food such as chips or crackers. Aggravate the pain and can cause bleeding
Apply an ice collar on the neck or encourage the child to eat popsicles. Cold promotes vasoconstriction and decreases swelling that contributes to pain.
Suggest diversional activity such as watching a video, reading a book or listening to music. Provides a distraction from discomfort.
Administer pain medications as prescribed such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or oxycodone. Monitor for effectiveness and side effects. Throat pain is common during the first several days (occasionally up to 10 days) post surgery. Rectal administration of analgesia is also possible for the very young client.

See Also

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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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