Acute Care Of PnAcute Care Of Diverticulitiseumonia Patient Case Nursing Essay

M.F. is a 37-year-old male presenting to the Emergency Department with dypsnea at rest that has been present for two to three weeks. His condition has worsened over the past two days. He presented with rapid respirations, complaints of periodic confusion, nasal flaring, and irritability. He had an occasional nonproductive

On Thursday night February 25, 2010, DC, a 64 year old female Caucasian came to the emergency room complaining of chills, abdominal pain, vomiting x 2days and diarrhea x3days. DC is 5’6″ and weighs 239 pounds. She stated that after eating dinner on Tuesday night she began to feel abdominal pain that worsened and then developed vomiting and diarrhea. DC’s pain ranged from 5/10-10/10 and complained of tenderness over her entire abdomen, that was worse midline. DC has a left brachial cephalic A/V fistula that has a palpable thrill and a good bruit. Upon being admitted to the Emergency Department DC’s vital signs were BP 136/79, T 97.9, HR 101, R16 and O2 sat 95% on room air. DC’s lung sounds were clear to auscultation and she denied being short of breath. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine were both elevated. An x-ray and a CT scan both showed evidence of a small bowel obstruction with perforation with evidence of diverticular disease of the colon (see medical management for details). It was at this time that DC was transferred to E300.

Primary Diagnosis and Priority Secondary Diagnosis

The primary medical diagnosis is diverticulosis/diverticulitis, with a small bowel obstruction. The secondary diagnosis is chronic renal failure (CRF).

Patient History

DC has a history of hypertension, atrial fibrillation (AFib), end stage renal disease (ESRD), past peritoneal dialysis (2.5 years), and peritonitis. She has been on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday hemodialysis schedule for the past 2 years.


Diverticula are pouch-like herniations of the mucosa through the muscular wall of the small intestine or colon. Diverticulosis is the presence of many diverticula in the wall of the intestine. Most people with diverticulosis have no symptoms and remain symptom free for a lifetime. Diverticulitis is used to describe when one or more of the diverticula become inflamed. Diverticula occur most commonly in the sigmoid colon, although they may occur in any part of the small or large intestine. The musculature of the colon hpertrophies, thicken and becomes rigid, and herniation occurs through the colon wall. Diverticula occur at points of weakness in the intestinal wall, where blood vessels interrupt muscular continuity. The muscle weakness develops as part of the aging process (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Diverticula usually cause few problems. If undigested food or bacteria become trapped in the diverticulum blood supply will diminish and bacteria invade the diverticulum. Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticulum perforates and a local absess forms (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Diets with small amounts of fiber have been linked to the development of diverticula due to the fact that they cause less bulky stool and constipation. However fiber is not proven to be a preventative measure ( Only one of five people with diverticulitis will actually display symptoms (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006). Exactly how diverticula become inflamed is not clear. One theory is that increased pressure in the colon can lead to breakdown of the wall of the diverticula leading to infection. Another theory is the openings of the diverticula may trap fecal matter, which can lead to infection. Or, an obstruction in the narrow opening of the diverticulum may reduce blood flow to the area which may lead to inflammation. In the past, medical professionals thought that nuts, seeds, popcorn and corn played a role in causing diverticulitis. However, recent research has found that these foods aren’t associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis (

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On physical examination of a client with diverticultis they have abdominal pain, most often in the lower left quadrant. The pain becomes progressively worse and steadier. Nausea and vomiting are also common. The abdomen may be distended and tenderness on palpation may be noted over the area involved (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006). Complications associated with diverticulitis may include: an absess (collection of pus), fistula, obstruction (blockage of the colon), peritonitis, or sepsis (

Intestinal obstructions can be partial or complete and are classified as mechanical or nonmechanical. A small bowel obstruction falls under mechanical obstruction. In mechanical obstruction the bowel is physically obstructed by a disorder outside of the intestine or by blockages in the lumen of the intestine (diverticulitis). The intestinal contents accumulate at or above the area of obstruction. The intestines cannot absorb and move the contents down the intestinal tract, resulting in intestinal distension. Peristalsis increases in an effort to move the intestinal contents forward. With the increase in peristalsis more secretions are stimulated leading to additional distention. This causes the bowel to swell with increased capillary permeability. Plasma leaking into the peritoneal cavity and fluid trapped in the intestinal lumen markedly decrease the absorption of fluid and electrolytes into the vascular space. Reduced circulatory blood volume and electrolyte imbalances typically occur. Hypovolemia may range from mild to extreme. Specific fluid and electrolyte problems result depending upon the location of the blockage (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Intestinal obstruction is a common and serious disorder caused by a variety of conditions. It can occur anywhere in the intestinal tract, although the ileum in the small intestine is the most common site. Mechanical obstruction can result from: adhesions, tumors, hernias, fecal impactions, strictures, intussusception, volvulus, fibrosis, or vascular disorders. In individuals age 65 or older, diverticulitis and tumors are the most common cause (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

A client with a mechanical obstruction may present with mid-abdominal pain or cramping. Vomiting often accompanies obstruction and is often more profuse with obstructions in the small intestine. Diarrhea may be present in partial obstruction. Stool may be positive for blood. Bowel sounds may sound high pitched or be absent in later stages (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Chronic renal failure is a progressive, irreversible kidney injury. Kidney function will never recover. When kidney function is too poor to sustain life, chronic renal failure is termed end-stage renal disease. Excessive amounts of metabolic wastes such as urea and creatinine accumulate in the blood. The kidneys are unable to maintain homeostasis. Hypervolemia can occur owing to the inability of the kidneys to excrete sodium and water, or hypovolemia can occur owing to the inability of the kidneys to conserve sodium and water (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

The causes of chronic renal failure are many and complex. Three main causes of ESRD are diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and glomerulonephritis (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Chronic renal failure cause changes in many body systems. Most manifestations are related to changes in fluid volume, electrolyte and acid-base imbalances, and buildup of nitrogenous wastes. Neurologic symptoms may include lethargy, decreased attention span, seizures, coma, slurred speech, asterixis, tremors, myoclonus, ataxia and parasthesias. Cardiovascular symptoms may include cardiomyopathy, hypertension, peripheral edema, heart failure, uremic pericarditis, pericardial effusion, pericardial friction rub and cardiac tamponade. Respiratory symptoms may include uremic halitosis, tachypnea, yawning, Kussmaul respirations, uremic pneumonitis, shortness of breath, pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, depresses cough reflex and crackles. Hematologic symptoms may include anemia, abnormal bleeding or bruising. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, metallic taste in mouth, changes in taste acuity and sensation, diarrhea, constipation, uremic gastritis, uremic fetor and stomatitis. Urinary symptoms may include polyuria, oliguria, anuria, proteinuria, hematuria, diluted and strawlike appearance. Integumentary symptoms may include decreased skin turgor, yellow-gray pallor, dry skin, pruritus, ecchymosis, purpura, soft-tissue calcifications and uremic frost. Musculoskeletal symptoms may include muscle weakness and cramping, bone pain, pathologic fractures and renal osteodystrophy.

Reproductive symptoms may include decreased fertility, infrequent or absent menses, decreased libido and impotence (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

DC’s history of past peritoneal dialysis with a complication of peritonitis may have lead to the diverticula to become more susceptible to inflammation and infection. DC has had chronic renal failure for five years. The association of colonic diverticulitis with chronic renal failure is well known. Diverticulitis with chronic renal failure is common (1). With DC’s inability to get rid of waste products on her own, the accumulation of fluid and waste that build up before she has dialysis may lead to an increase in infection.


DC’s history of hypertension is what leads to her chronic renal failure and atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and over time can damage blood vessels throughout the body. If the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from the body (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006). In most cases atrial fibrillation is secondary to other medical problems, i.e. her hypertension. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that starts in the upper parts of the heart. The quivering upsets the normal rhythm between the atria and the ventricles of the heart. If afib is left uncontrolled it increases the risk of stroke. DC was on peritoneal dialysis for 2.5 years in which she developed peritonitis as a complication, twice. With a history or peritonitis she could have experienced some scarring in her intestine. When this happens the colon is unable to move the bowel contents out normally and a blockage may occur. With the blockage she experienced inflammation of the diverticula leading to her diverticulitis. The last time she recovered from peritonitis she under went the switch to hemodialysis.


The books recommendation for non-surgical interventions for moderate to severe diverticulitis may require hospitalization. Clinical manifestations that require hospitalization are a temperature of >101 ‘F, persistent abdominal pain >3 days, or evidence of a lower GI bleed. A combination of drug and diet therapy with rest is recommended to reduce inflammation and improve tissue perfusion. In clients with mild diverticulitis antibiotics are given. Mild analgesics are given for pain. Do not give laxatives or enemas. Encourage bed rest and tell client to refrain from lifting, bending, straining, coughing, to avoid perforation of the diverticulum. Clients with more severe symptoms are kept nothing by mouth (NPO) and a nasogastic tube (NG) may be placed if persistent nausea, vomiting, or abdominal distension is severe. Administer IV fluids for hydration. When inflammation has stopped and bowel function returns to normal, fiber is introduced into the diet gradually (Ignatavicious & Workman, 2006).

The client with diverticulitis has an elevated white blood cell (WBC) count. Decreased hematocrit and hemoglobin values are found if chronic or severe bleeding is present. A flat plate film of the abdomen may reveal free air and fluid in the left lower quadrant, suggesting an abscess or free air under the diaphragm, indicating perforation. The health care provider may also order a computed tomography (CT) scan to diagnose an abscess or thickening of the bowel related to diverticulitis (Ignatavicious & Workman, 2006).

Actual medical management for DC included an x-ray of the abdomen. The x-ray findings were consistent with a small bowel obstruction. There were small amounts of free air found near the liver and a CT scan was ordered. The CT revealed evidence of an abscess that seemed in close association with one of the dilated small bowel loops and evidence of diverticular disease of the colon. A complete blood count (CBC) with BUN and creatinine was ordered. WBC of 9.0(N=4.8-10.8), RBC of 3.45 (N=3.6-5.4), hemoglobin of 11.5 (N=12-16), hematocrit of 32.7 (N=34-45), platelets of 164 (N=150-450), protime of 15 (N=9-12), BUN of 30 (N=7-18), and creatinine 7.8 (N=0.6-1.0). The elevation in the BUN and creatinine levels is consistent with DC’s history of chronic renal failure. Upon discharge her BUN was 21 and her creatinine was 7.4. All other labs were within normal limits. DC was scheduled for surgery, put on strict bed rest; her diet was nothing by mouth (NPO), vital signs every 4 hours, no blood pressures to the left arm, and normal saline at 100 cc per hour. Upon DC’s return from surgery her orders changed to up with assist post op day 1, remain NPO, D51/2 at 100cc/hr, morphine PCA to manage pain. DC’s pain ranged from 4-6/10 in her abdominal area after returning from surgery for 3 days. At which time her PCA was discontinued and she was managing pain with oral pain medication. By the end of DC’s stay her diet had advanced to a renal diet, she was up independently, vital signs every shift, pain level of 1/10 with no IV fluids running.


The text book recommends nursing management for the patient with diverticulitis as: encourage bed rest, provide antibiotics and analgesics, do not give laxatives or enemas, teach to avoid straining and bending to avoid pressure in the abdomen, provide and teach about a low fiber diet, perform frequent abdominal assessments, and to check stools for occult or frank bleeding. If a colostomy has been performed, give the patient the opportunity to express their feelings about the ostomy. When the patient is ready encourage them to look at the ostomy and to begin learning how to care for it. Teach the patient about the importance of eating and preparing high fiber foods when they are at home. Teach incision and colostomy care and the importance of temporary limitations to activity (Ignatavicious & Workman, 2006).

DC’s abdomen and bowel sounds were inspected every shift and as needed. DC’s vital signs were monitored every 4 hours until the day before discharge. Her input and output was monitored closely. Since she had chronic renal failure and was on dialysis 3 times a week she rarely put out more than 20 cc of urine per day. DC’s activity was closely monitored and ranged from strict bed rest to being up independently. Her diet was strict NPO and then advanced to clears and finally to a renal diet. The colostomy nurse was in to teach DC about colostomy care and her stoma. She was taught about the importance of splintering her abdominal incision site when moving about or coughing. She was administered antibiotics and analgesics. Staples to her midline incision were covered with dry gauze and paper tape. Upon discharge she was taught about the importance of notifying her doctor if she had an increase in temperature, new onset of abdominal pain, any abnormal bleeding, or a change in colostomy drainage/color. DC was taught about the importance of increasing fiber in her diet and following a renal diet, although she stated that she “eats what she wants.”


The text book recommends antibiotics such as metronidazole (Flagyl) plus trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro). An opiod analgesic may be given for pain such as morphine sulfate or meperdidine hydrochloride (Demerol). IV fluids are given to correct dehydration and to maintain proper hydration, while the patient remains NPO, and recovering from surgery (Ignatavicious & Workman, 2006).

Actual pharmacological interventions for DC included metronidazole (Flagyl) 500mg/100ml IV to be administered 3 times a day. Flagyl is an antibiotic. It is used as a perioperative prophylactic agent in colorectal surgery. She was also on morphine PCA. Morphine is a schedule II opiod analgesic. The PCA helped to control her pain but by post-op day 2 she was trying not to rely on it as much.

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According to the book the patient with diverticulitis may need to undergo surgical management for any of the following complications: rupture of the diverticulum with subsequent peritonitis, pelvic absess, bowel obstruction, fistula, persistent fever or pain after 4 days of medical treatment, or uncontrolled bleeding. Colon resection with or without colostomy is the most common surgical procedure for patients with diverticular disease. Select patients may be candidates for colostomy closure and anastomosis after the bowel has had time to rest for 3 to 6 months. If a colostomy has been performed, a colostomy bag may be placed over the stoma. The stoma should be monitored for color and integrity. The stoma should be pink to cherry red without prolapse or retraction into the abdomen. If a colostomy is in place it should start to function within 2-4 days. Most patients who undergo surgery and colostomy formation for diverticulitis have a sigmoid colostomy because the sigmoid colon is the most common site for diverticulitis. A tight seal around the stoma is essential to avoid contact of feces with the skin. Discharge instructions vary according to the treatment provided (Ignatavicious & Workman, 2006).

Actual surgical intervention for CD was a laparatomy, sigmoid colectomy with end colostomy and Hartmann pouch. Indications for the operation were a 2 day history of abdominal pain, diffuse significant tenderness and the results of the CT scan. DC had expressed her feelings of sadness/anger of having the colostomy to the colostomy nurse. The colostomy nurse gave her a lot of education both verbally and written for her and her husband to review. By discharge DC’s stoma to the left abdomen was 1½ inches round, pink with edematous sutures intact to the mucocutanious junction. Peristernal skin intact with large formed soft brown stool in pouch.


Priority Nursing Diagnosis

“P” Acute pain

“R” Pain from inflammation of bowel/surgery

“C” 1. unrelieved pain > patient tolerance, pain ranging from 4-6/10

2. tender over entire abdominal area

3. need for PCA to administer pain relief

Priority Patient Goal

The patient will demonstrate lack of pain by discharge as evidenced by:

pt verbalized lack of pain.

abdominal pain and tenderness minimized

lack of parenteral medication for 24 hours before discharge

Three Priority Nursing Interventions

The nurse will administer pain medication

The nurse will help patient to reposition for comfort and teach patient how to splint incision site.

The nurse will teach the patient how to maintain pain levels before pain becomes unmanaged.


As a provider of care I administered antibiotic therapy as prescribed. I followed physician’s orders accordingly to ensure safe care of DC by frequently checking and implementing orders. I frequently assessed DC and made provisions according to her needs for rest. I changed DC’s abdominal bandages according to doctor’s orders once per shift.

Member of the Discipline and the Role of the Multi-Disciplinary Team

The primary physician and other consulting physicians were responsible for all medications. They ordered labs and diagnostic tests for DC. She had a surgeon, renal doctor and a colostomy nurse on consult during her stay. Her surgeon performed her sigmoid colectomy with end colostomy. The renal doctor was responsible for providing dialysis orders. The colostomy nurse gave DC and her husband patient education on colostomy care, what type of supplies they needed and even personal information regarding how to deal with new feelings associated with having a new colostomy. Pharmacy was responsible for the delivery of ordered medications. Food service was in charge of following through with the different diets that she had ordered. Runners provided her transportation to and from diagnostic testing and hemodialysis. The RN’s responsibilities included assessment, administering medications, implementing orders, teaching, notifying the Dr. of abnormal findings, and collaborating with other health care professionals to ensure safe care of the patient.

Manager of Care Role

As a Manager of Care, I reviewed the patients chart, Kardex, medication sheets and took written and oral report regarding my patient. I oversaw another student and was sure that not only had she performed her duties but they were done appropriately with the correct documentation made.

Growth in the Manager of Care Role

I have learned to look at the whole patient picture, not just what they are diagnosed with. History and predisposing conditions play a big part in why the patient is in the hospital. If I do not have a good understanding of my patient I really have the opportunity to miss something important. I have also realized how important it is to follow through with other members of the team regarding patient care. Even though I am only a student I have found that I need to speak up when I think something is wrong or has been missed. The worse I could be is wrong, but patient safety comes first. I have also learned to help others out and they are more likely to help you when you are in need.


cough and was afebrile. The chest x-ray showed bilateral effusion and possible pericardial effusion.

This patient is non-compliant with hemodialysis. On admission to the Emergency Room he had an elevated blood urea nitrogen and creatinine.

Primary Diagnosis and Priority Secondary Diagnosis

M.F. was admitted to the hospital with a primary diagnosis of pneumonia and a secondary diagnosis of chronic renal failure.

Patient History

M.F. has a history of failed renal transplants times two. He also has severe pulmonary hypertension and chronic heart failure. M.F. is non-compliant with his dialysis; he is supposed to have dialysis three times a week. He currently only goes twice per week. The patient is a smoker of one half pack per day and at this time has no plans to quit. He lives with his fiancée, who is present at the patient’s bedside.

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Pneumonia is an excess of fluid in the lungs resulting from the inflammatory process. Inhaling infectious organisms or agents that irritate the lungs can trigger inflammation. The inflammation occurs in the alveoli, bronchioles and interstitial spaces of the lungs. Organisms multiply within the alveolar spaces causing an immune response. White blood cells migrate to the area causing local capillary leak, edema, and exudates. These fluids collect in and around the alveoli, thickening the walls and thus reducing gas exchange. This leads to hypoxia. If the organisms move into the blood stream sepsis results.

The fibrin and edema cause a stiffening of the lungs. This stiffening reduces lung compliance, decreasing the lungs vital capacity. The inflammation of the alveoli causes collapse, further reducing the oxygenation of the blood.

People develop pneumonia when their immune systems are unable to combat the virulence of the invading organisms. Bacteria, viruses or fungi can cause pneumonia. Inhalations of toxic gases or aspiration are among other causes of pneumonia (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

Patients with pneumonia have flushed cheeks, bright eyes, and an anxious expression. They may have pleuritic pain or discomfort, myalgia, headache, chills, fever, cough, tachypnea, tachycardia, and sputum production. Crackles are heard when there is fluid in the interstitial and alveolar spaces. Wheezing may be heard when there is inflammation and exudates in the airways. These patients may be hypotensive as a result of vasodilatation and dehydration.

Chronic renal failure is an irreversible kidney injury. This disease is progressive and ends with the kidney function being too poor to sustain life. The first sign is diminished reserve. In this stage there is no build up of metabolic wastes in the blood. The unaffected nephrons can compensate for the injured nephrons. As renal damage increases systemic blood pressure increases, causing increased glomerular pressure, which will damage more nephrons. As more nephrons are damaged the patient progresses to renal insufficiency. This stage has a build up of metabolic waste in the blood stream. Levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine increase, the kidneys are no longer able to maintain hemostasis.

Three main causes of renal failure include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and glomerulonephritis. Polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary renal disorder, in adults can lead to chronic renal failure.

Chronic renal failure can cause lethargy, seizures or coma. The patient is at risk for fluid overload, hypertension or heart failure. They may also have breath that smells of urine, shortness of breath or tachypnea. In later stages the patient may experience anemia or abnormal bleeding. As kidneys fail the patient may have oliguria. The skin may become itchy or develop a layer of crystals called uremic frost (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2006).

M.F. suffers from shortness of breath, due to increased fluid build up. The fluid builds in his lungs from his chronic renal failure, giving bacteria a place to multiply and causing the immune inflammatory response.


M.F. has a history of chronic renal failure. He also has a history of non-compliance with his dialysis. When M.F. does not get his dialysis he is at risk for fluid overload. This fluid builds up aggravating his hypertension and his chronic heart failure causing an increase in his pulmonary hypertension. By increasing the fluid in his lungs he decreases his gas exchange causing hypoxia. When the body senses hypoxia it starts to shut down the kidneys, causing a further fluid to build up and the decrease in the other functions of the kidney. One of which is production of erythropoietin. Since the kidneys are not producing this hormone, his body is not producing red cells, causing anemia. M.F. now further decreases his oxygenation levels, which could lead to a decrease in his level of consciousness, causing lethargy and confusion. M.F. had a low hemoglobin level that required treatment in the hospital (see medical management section).


Medical interventions for pneumonia include obtaining a sputum specimen for culture, a chest x-ray to look for areas of increased density, a complete blood count to identify white blood cells and red blood cells and hemoglobin for anemia, arterial blood gases, pulse oximetry for oxygenation. They could also include a blood urea nitrogen level to monitor for dehydration. Blood culture specimen to rule out sepsis. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infection.

M.F. had a slightly elevated white blood cell count (n=5.0-10.0) that ranged from 10.3 to 11.3 on discharge. His hemoglobin (n=14-18) was low upon admission at 7.9; he was given two units of packed red blood cells. His hemoglobin was still low upon discharge, at 10.9, but the patient was not lethargic, confused or short of breath.

X-ray on discharge showed a decrease in the size of infiltrates. M.F. remained afebrile throughout his admission. Upon discharge he was able to ambulate 50 yards, without any signs of distress. He had two negative blood cultures this admission.

To decrease the amount of fluid being retained M.F. was encouraged to follow a renal healthy diet. This would include foods low in protein, sodium and phosphorous (Medical College, n.d.). As kidney function declines these products build up in the blood stream. In order to lower the strain on his kidneys, M.F. was given instructions on foods that meet these criteria. M.F. was also encouraged to attend his dialysis three times per week, as directed by his physician. Hemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis. It uses a filter to remove waste products from the blood stream. It then returns the cleaned blood back to you (Castner, 2008).


Textbook recommendations for nursing interventions include cough and deep breathing, use of incentive spirometer, to improve lung compliance. It recommends monitoring vital signs and breath sounds, to assess for improvement of infection. Also recommended is adequate hydration to thin secretions.

M.F. was encouraged to cough and deep breath every hour. He was very lethargic on day one and did not try more than twice. He did increase his attempts on day two. He was given instruction on the incentive spirometer, and was encouraged to use this every hour. He made no attempts on day one. On day two he was able to raise the level to 750mm for three seconds. He increased his efforts and was able to keep the level up for four seconds and repeat this five times each hour upon discharge. The patient’s lung sounds cleared from crackles to clear by discharge. The patient’s respiratory rate returned to between 18-20 breaths per minute upon discharge. M.F. was kept to an 1800 ml per day fluid restriction, due to his increased fluid volume. He remained afebrile throughout his stay. He had a non-productive cough upon admission; this did not clear during his hospital stay.


Treatment options include antibiotics to stop the spread of infection. Bronchodilators may also be used to improve gas exchange. The use of oxygen management is encouraged to increase oxygenation of the blood.

M.F. was on two liters of oxygen via nasal cannula and was able to maintain his pulse oximetry at a level between 92-95%. Upon discharge his pulse oximetry showed 95% on room air. He was started on Avelox (antiinfective) intravenously, and then changed to oral upon discharge. He remained afebrile throughout hospital stay. His white blood count rose slightly, but no other signs of bacterial infection was noted.


“P” Impaired gas exchange

“R” Ventilation-perfusion imbalance

“C” decreased level of consciousness, dypsnea at rest, decreased oxygen saturation <90%

Goal statement

The patient will show improving lung fields and remain free of respiratory distress, as evidenced by clearing chest x-ray and improved oxygen saturation levels by discharge.

Nursing interventions

The nurse will monitor patient’s respiratory rate, depth and effort including use of accessory muscles, nasal flaring and abnormal breathing patterns. The nurse will encourage the patient to cough and deep breath. The nurse will teach and encourage the use of the incentive spirometer hourly.

Evaluation of progress toward patient goal

M.F. had a hard time complying with the nursing interventions.

When using the incentive spirometer his lung sounds went from crackles to clear. His respirations went from 28 breaths per minute to 18. He maintained a pulse oximetry of between 92-95% on 2 liters of oxygen. He was able to ambulate in the hallway without respiratory distress. The chest x-ray taken on the day of discharge showed a decrease in the infiltrates in the patient’s lungs. This patient met his goals upon discharge.

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Role of the Multi-Disciplinary Team

M. F.’s care depended on the ward clerks to order the appropriate tests at the appropriate times. It also included the ancillary services to do the tests as ordered. A nutrition consult was ordered to teach proper diet for a patient that has chronic renal failure. A mental health consult was ordered to evaluate the patient for depression. Also a social worker talked to the patient about his need for transportation to dialysis upon discharge. The discharge planner was also helpful in making dialysis appointments for this patient.

Provider of Care Role

As provider of care I monitored the patient’s vital signs, paying particular notice of his temperature to monitor for infection. I also evaluated M.F.’s breath sounds, noting improvement daily. I gave the patient his medications on time. I also encouraged the patient to cough and deep breath and use his incentive spirometer. I assisted M.F. in ambulation when needed.

Manager of Care Role

As manager of care for this patient I needed to instruct him on the use of his incentive spirometer and the importance of using this equipment to increase his breathing ability. I also monitored his laboratory and radiology results to be sure these were done as ordered. I made sure all the doctors orders were noted in a timely manner and carried out as instructed. I gave this patient his discharge instructions and made sure he was knowledgeable about his diet. I answered any question M.F. had on the information given to him during his admission to the hospital.

Growth in the Manager of Care Role

I was able to see the importance of recognizing the affect of all co-morbidities of the patient. For each disease process there is an effect on other systems, and each of these effects must be taken into account when treating the patient.

When teaching this patient I also was learning the things needed to help in achieving a healthier lifestyle for this patient. This helped me develop a knowledge base that I can build upon. Since this patient was not receptive to instruction, I had to find ways to get him to comply with his orders. I learned to depend on others on my team to help get the job done.


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