Nursing Care Plan for Acute Pancreatitis

Nursing Care Plan for Acute Pancreatitis


Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to severe pain, digestive disturbances, and potential complications. As a nurse, your role is crucial in the management and support of patients with acute pancreatitis. This nursing care plan aims to outline evidence-based interventions to provide optimal care, alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and promote the patient’s recovery.

Patient Information:

  • Name: [Patient’s Name]
  • Age: [Patient’s Age]
  • Gender: [Patient’s Gender]
  • Medical History: [Brief summary of patient’s medical history]
  • Etiology of Pancreatitis: [Identify the cause of acute pancreatitis, such as gallstones, alcohol use, or medication-related]
  • Presenting Symptoms: [Specify the symptoms experienced by the patient]
  • Laboratory and Diagnostic Findings: [Include relevant laboratory results and diagnostic findings]
  • Date of Admission: [Date of Admission]
  • Date of Care Plan: [Date of Care Plan]

Nursing Assessment

Subjective Data:

  • The patient reports severe abdominal pain, usually in the upper left or middle abdomen.
  • The patient may have a history of alcohol abuse or recent gallbladder issues.

Objective Data:

  • Abdominal tenderness and guarding.
  • Elevated amylase and lipase levels.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Decreased or absent bowel sounds.

Nursing Diagnosis:

  1. Acute Pain related to inflammation and tissue damage of the pancreas.
  2. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements related to inadequate oral intake and impaired digestion.
  3. Risk for Infection related to compromised pancreatic tissue integrity.
  4. Deficient Knowledge regarding self-care and prevention of recurrent episodes.
  5. Acute Pain related to inflammation and distention of the pancreas as evidenced by the patient’s report of severe abdominal pain.
  6. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements related to inadequate oral intake, nausea, and vomiting as evidenced by weight loss and altered laboratory values.
  7. Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit related to vomiting decreased oral intake, and third spacing of fluids as evidenced by decreased urine output and elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels.
  8. Knowledge Deficit related to the understanding of the disease process, treatment, and self-care management as evidenced by the patient’s lack of knowledge regarding pancreatitis and its management.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales For Acute Pancreatitis:

Acute Pain:

  1. Assess and monitor the intensity, location, and characteristics of the patient’s pain using a validated pain scale.
  2. Provide pain relief measures, such as administering prescribed analgesics (e.g., opioids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as directed.
  3. Encourage the patient to assume positions that promote comfort, such as sitting up or leaning forward.
  4. Implement non-pharmacological pain management strategies, such as relaxation techniques, distraction, or heat application.

Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements:

  1. Collaborate with the healthcare team to determine the appropriate nutritional plan based on the patient’s condition and tolerance.
  2. Monitor the patient’s nutritional status, including weight, intake, and laboratory parameters (e.g., serum albumin, pre-albumin).
  3. Initiate enteral nutrition (tube feeding) if the patient is unable to meet nutritional needs orally.
  4. Educate the patient on dietary modifications, such as a low-fat diet, avoiding alcohol, and consuming small, frequent meals.

Risk for Infection:

  1. Assess the patient’s vital signs, especially temperature, for signs of systemic infection.
  2. Monitor laboratory results, including white blood cell count and C-reactive protein, for indications of infection.
  3. Promote hand hygiene and aseptic techniques during procedures and wound care.
  4. Collaborate with the healthcare team to administer prescribed antibiotics or prophylactic medications, if indicated.

Deficient Knowledge:

  1. Provide education to the patient and their caregivers about the causes and risk factors for acute pancreatitis.
  2. Explain the importance of lifestyle modifications, such as abstaining from alcohol and following a low-fat diet.
  3. Teach the patient about the signs and symptoms of recurrent pancreatitis and when to seek medical attention.
  4. Provide resources, educational materials, and referrals to support groups or outpatient clinics for ongoing education and support.

Nursing Evaluation and Expected Outcomes:

  1. Effective pain management with reduced pain intensity and improved comfort.
  2. Adequate nutrition with improved oral intake or implementation of enteral nutrition as necessary.
  3. Prevention of infection with no signs or symptoms of systemic infection.
  4. Enhanced knowledge and understanding of self-care measures, prevention of recurrent episodes, and the importance of adherence to lifestyle modifications.
  5. The patient reports decreased pain and improved pain management.
  6. The patient demonstrates an understanding of dietary modifications and adheres to the recommended diet.
  7. The patient maintains adequate hydration and shows improvement in urine output and laboratory values.
  8. The patient exhibits increased knowledge and understanding of pancreatitis and its management.


Regularly document the patient’s progress, interventions provided, and the outcomes achieved. Collaborate with the interdisciplinary healthcare team to review and update the care plan based on the patient’s response to treatment and evolving needs.

Note: This nursing care plan is a general guideline and should be individualized according to the patient’s specific needs, the severity of acute pancreatitis, and the healthcare provider’s recommendations. Collaboration with the interdisciplinary healthcare team, including gastroenterologists, nutritionists, and pain management specialists, is essential to provide comprehensive care for individuals with acute pancreatitis.


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