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Nursing Care Plan for Meningitis

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Pathophysiology

The meninges surround both the brain and the spinal cord to provide cushion and protection as well as create cerebrospinal fluid.  In meningitis, these meninges get infected and inflamed, causing symptoms that range from altered level of consciousness (due to inflammation in the brain) to nuchal rigidity or numbness & tingling (because of the effect on the spinal cord).

Etiology

Meningitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses, which can be introduced via the bloodstream as well as through invasive procedures or fractures of the skull.  Transmission is via droplets and usually occurs in areas of population density or crowded living spaces such as college dorms, prisons, and homeless shelters.

Desired Outcome

Treat the underlying infection, decrease inflammation and swelling in the brain, and prevent long-term neurological deficits.

Meningitis Nursing Care Plan

Subjective Data:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Photophobia
  • Headache

Objective Data:

  • Fever
  • Increased ICP
  • Seizures
  • Nuchal rigidity

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

  • Place the patient in droplet isolation
  Meningitis is spread via droplets, therefore a mask, gown, and gloves should be worn at all times and all surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly  
  • Administer analgesics and/or anti-inflammatories
  To alleviate a headache or nuchal rigidity caused by inflammation.  
  • Administer antimicrobials
  Many antibiotics cannot cross the blood-brain barrier but will be given to treat any bloodstream infection. Antivirals can be given as well.  
  • Assess LOC and neuro status q2-4 hours
  Inflammation of the meninges can cause irritation of the brain tissue and swelling, which can cause decreased LOC.  
  • Monitor ICP and CPP if available
  If there is enough hydrocephalus or edema, providers may place an EVD for ICP monitoring. If so, monitor ICP and CPP hourly and manage EVD.  
  • Initiate seizure precautions
  Inflammation of the meninges can irritate the nerves and brain tissue, leading to the development of seizures.  
  • Educate patient and family on infection control measures and s/s to report to the provider
  Handwashing is imperative, considering droplet transmission. Family members should also wash their hands on the way in and out of the room. Patients should report any s/s infection  

References

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  • Question 1 of 2

The nurse caring for a 15-year-old admitted with possible meningitis knows that which of the following infection control precautions should be put into place for the client?

  • Question 2 of 2

The nurse is caring for a client with bacterial meningitis. Which of the following is a priority nursing intervention?

Module 0 – Nursing Care Plans Course Introduction
Module Obstetrics (OB) & Pediatrics (Peds) Care Plans

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