Nursing Care Plan for Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (LRTI)

Nursing Care Plan for Lower Respiratory Tract Infection (LRTI)


Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) can range from mild respiratory illnesses to severe conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Nursing care plays a critical role in managing LRTIs by promoting respiratory function, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. This article presents a nursing care plan for lower respiratory tract infections, focusing on assessment, nursing diagnoses, and appropriate interventions.

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) encompass various conditions, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis, which affect the airways and lungs. As a nurse, your role is essential in providing comprehensive care to patients with LRTIs, including managing symptoms, promoting airway clearance, preventing complications, and supporting overall respiratory health. This nursing care plan outlines evidence-based interventions and strategies to support patients with lower respiratory tract infections.

Nursing Assessment for LRTI:

A comprehensive assessment is essential for developing an effective care plan for LRTIs. Key assessments include:

  • Respiratory assessment, including auscultation of lung sounds, measurement of oxygen saturation, and assessment of respiratory rate and effort.
  • Assessment of vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Evaluation of cough characteristics, sputum production, and any associated symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Medical history review, including any pre-existing respiratory conditions or risk factors for severe infection.
  • Assessment of fluid intake, hydration status, and nutritional status.

Nursing Diagnosis for LRTI:

Based on the assessment, the following nursing diagnoses may be applicable to individuals with lower respiratory tract infections:

  • Ineffective Airway Clearance related to increased mucus production and impaired cough reflex.
  • Impaired Gas Exchange related to alveolar inflammation and decreased oxygenation.
  • Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit related to increased respiratory effort and decreased fluid intake.
  • Acute Pain related to coughing, chest congestion, or inflammation.
  • Ineffective Breathing Pattern related to dyspnea and increased work of breathing.

Nursing Goals for LRTI:

Goal 1: Improve Oxygenation and Respiratory Function:

  • Monitor the patient’s vital signs, including oxygen saturation levels, respiratory rate, and depth, and document any abnormalities.
  • Administer supplemental oxygen as prescribed to maintain oxygen saturation within the desired range.
  • Encourage the patient to practice deep breathing and coughing exercises to promote effective airway clearance.
  • Assist the patient with positioning, such as sitting upright or in a semi-Fowler’s position, to optimize lung expansion.
  • Administer bronchodilators and other respiratory medications as prescribed to promote bronchial relaxation and reduce airway inflammation.

Goal 2: Promote Effective Airway Clearance:

  • Encourage the patient to increase fluid intake, unless contraindicated, to help thin and mobilize respiratory secretions.
  • Teach and assist the patient with effective coughing techniques, such as huffing or controlled coughing.
  • Perform chest physiotherapy techniques, such as percussion and postural drainage, as prescribed to facilitate mucus clearance.
  • Encourage frequent position changes and ambulation to enhance lung expansion and mobilize secretions.
  • Provide adequate humidification, either through a humidifier or saline nebulization, to help loosen respiratory secretions.

Goal 3: Prevent Infection Spread Interventions:

  • Implement appropriate infection control measures, including proper hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when in contact with the patient or their respiratory secretions.
  • Educate the patient and family members about respiratory hygiene, such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and disposing of tissues properly.
  • Promote isolation precautions as indicated, such as placing the patient in a private room or implementing droplet precautions as per facility guidelines.
  • Educate the patient and family about the importance of completing prescribed antibiotic therapy and adhering to the recommended treatment regimen.
  • Encourage and administer vaccinations, such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, as appropriate to prevent respiratory infections.

Goal 4: Provide Symptom Management and Comfort:

  • Administer prescribed analgesics or antipyretics to manage fever, pain, and discomfort.
  • Provide warm fluids or lozenges to soothe the throat and alleviate the cough.
  • Offer a calm and quiet environment to reduce anxiety and facilitate rest.
  • Monitor and address the patient’s nutritional status, ensuring adequate hydration and providing small, frequent, and nutritious meals to support recovery.

Nursing Interventions for Lower Respiratory Tract Infection:

Ineffective Airway Clearance:

  • Encourage and assist with effective coughing and deep breathing exercises to mobilize secretions and promote airway clearance.
  • Promote hydration by encouraging the individual to drink fluids regularly, unless contraindicated.
  • Administer prescribed bronchodilators or expectorants to help loosen secretions and improve cough effectiveness.
  • Position the individual in an upright position or use pillows to elevate the head of the bed to facilitate lung expansion.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to provide chest physiotherapy or suctioning, if necessary, to clear airway secretions.

Impaired Gas Exchange:

  • Monitor oxygen saturation levels regularly and administer supplemental oxygen as prescribed to maintain adequate oxygenation.
  • Encourage and assist with deep breathing exercises and position changes to optimize lung expansion and ventilation.
  • Monitor respiratory status closely, including respiratory rate, rhythm, and effort.
  • Administer prescribed bronchodilators or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce airway inflammation and improve gas exchange.
  • Monitor for signs of respiratory distress or worsening oxygenation and report changes promptly to the healthcare provider.

Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit:

  • Monitor fluid intake and output closely, including urine output and changes in body weight.
  • Encourage the individual to increase fluid intake within their prescribed limits, especially if fever or increased respiratory effort is present.
  • Offer small, frequent sips of fluids and provide preferred beverages to promote adequate hydration.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to monitor electrolyte levels and provide intravenous fluids, if necessary.

Acute Pain:

  • Assess the individual’s pain level using a validated pain scale and monitor for any triggers or exacerbating factors.
  • Administer prescribed analgesics or antipyretics as ordered to manage pain and reduce fever, if present.
  • Provide comfort measures, such as warm compresses or position changes, to alleviate chest discomfort.
  • Educate the individual on relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or guided imagery, to manage pain and promote relaxation.

Ineffective Breathing Pattern:

  • Monitor the individual’s respiratory rate, rhythm, and effort regularly.
  • Encourage and assist with positioning and breathing techniques, such as pursed-lip breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, to promote effective breathing.
  • Provide a calm and quiet environment to reduce anxiety and minimize factors that may increase respiratory distress.
  • Administer prescribed bronchodilators or respiratory support, such as nebulizer treatments or positive airway pressure, as ordered.
  • Educate the individual on energy conservation techniques and pacing activities to reduce dyspnea and conserve respiratory effort.

Patient Education:

  • Provide education on the importance of completing the full course of prescribed antibiotics or antiviral medications.
  • Teach proper hand hygiene techniques to prevent the spread of infection to others.
  • Explain the importance of rest, hydration, and good nutrition in supporting recovery.
  • Discuss the signs and symptoms of worsening respiratory distress and when to seek medical attention.
  • Provide smoking cessation counseling, if applicable, to promote respiratory health.

Nursing Evaluation for LRTI:

Regularly evaluate the patient’s progress toward the identified goals and modify the care plan as necessary. Collaborate with the healthcare team to monitor the patient’s overall condition, and response to treatment, and address any new concerns or complications that may arise.

  • Improved airway clearance is demonstrated by effective coughing and expectoration of secretions.
  • Enhanced gas exchange is evidenced by improved oxygenation levels and decreased respiratory distress.
  • Reduced risk of infection through infection prevention strategies and appropriate antibiotic therapy.
  • Improved activity tolerance and ability to perform daily activities without excessive fatigue or dyspnea.


A comprehensive nursing care plan for lower respiratory tract infections focuses on promoting respiratory function, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. By conducting a thorough assessment, developing individualized interventions, and providing patient education, nurses can play a vital role in supporting individuals with LRTIs and facilitating their recovery process.

Note: This nursing care plan is a general template and should be individualized based on the specific needs and conditions of the patient. Always refer to the patient’s medical history, physician’s orders, and collaborate with the healthcare team for accurate and personalized care.


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