Nursing Care Plan For Raised Intracranial Pressure

Nursing Care Plan For Raised Intracranial Pressure


Raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is a critical condition characterized by increased pressure within the skull. It can result from various underlying causes, such as traumatic brain injury, tumors, intracranial hemorrhage, or infections. Nursing care for patients with raised ICP is of utmost importance in preventing further neurological damage and ensuring their safety and well-being.

This nursing care plan is designed to provide a systematic approach to assess, monitor, and manage patients with raised ICP. It emphasizes the importance of early detection of worsening intracranial pressure and prompt interventions to prevent complications.

Nurses caring for patients with raised ICP should have a thorough understanding of neurological assessment, the signs and symptoms of increased ICP, and various interventions to mitigate intracranial pressure. This care plan encompasses multiple aspects of care, from neurological assessments and vital sign monitoring to interventions focused on preventing and managing raised ICP.

Effective communication and collaboration with the healthcare team, which may include neurologists, neurosurgeons, and radiologists, are essential to ensure coordinated care and optimized patient outcomes. The care plan also recognizes the significance of patient and family education in explaining the condition, its potential causes, and the importance of adherence to treatment recommendations.

By adhering to the principles outlined in this care plan, healthcare professionals can provide holistic and patient-centered care to individuals with raised ICP, contributing to their safety, comfort, and potential recovery.

Nursing Assessment for Raised Intracranial Pressure (ICP):

Assessing and monitoring intracranial pressure is a critical aspect of nursing care, especially for patients at risk of or experiencing raised ICP. Here are the key components of the nursing assessment for raised ICP:

1. Neurological Assessment:

  • Evaluate the patient’s level of consciousness using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to assess their baseline cognitive function.
  • Monitor changes in neurological status, including alterations in alertness, orientation, and pupillary reactions.
  • Assess motor function for signs of weakness or paralysis.

2. Vital Sign Monitoring:

  • Continuously monitor vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as changes can be indicative of raised ICP.
  • Observe for bradycardia and irregular breathing patterns (e.g., Cheyne-Stokes respiration) as potential signs of increased intracranial pressure.

3. Headache Assessment:

  • Inquire about the presence, location, intensity, and characteristics of headaches, which can be a common symptom of raised ICP.

4. Ocular Assessment:

  • Assess for signs of papilledema (swelling of the optic disc) during funduscopic examination.

5. Pupillary Examination:

  • Monitor for pupillary changes, such as dilation, anisocoria (unequal pupil size), or sluggish pupillary response.

6. Respiratory Assessment:

  • Evaluate respiratory patterns and monitor for signs of hypoventilation or changes in blood gas levels.

7. Nausea and Vomiting:

  • Ask the patient about nausea and vomiting, which can occur with raised ICP.

8. Assessment of Fontanelles (in pediatric patients):

  • In pediatric patients, assess fontanelle tension, which may indicate raised ICP.

9. Motor Function Assessment:

  • Assess muscle strength and tone, including any weakness or paralysis that may be associated with raised ICP.

10. Cranial Nerve Assessment:

  • Check cranial nerve function for any abnormalities, such as visual disturbances, loss of smell, or difficulty swallowing.

11. Posture and Motor Responses:

  • Assess decerebrate or decorticate posturing, which can be indicative of raised ICP and damage to the brainstem.

Nurses must be vigilant in the assessment of patients at risk of raised ICP, as early detection is crucial for timely interventions to prevent complications. Regular assessments and effective communication with the healthcare team, including neurologists and neurosurgeons, are essential for providing optimal care to individuals with raised ICP.

Nursing Diagnosis For Raised Intracranial Pressure:

Nursing diagnoses for raised intracranial pressure (ICP) typically focus on assessing the patient’s condition, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. Here are some potential nursing diagnoses for raised ICP:

1. Ineffective Cerebral Tissue Perfusion related to increased ICP:

  • This diagnosis acknowledges the compromised blood flow to the brain due to elevated pressure, potentially leading to ischemia and neurological deficits.

2. Altered Mental Status related to raised ICP:

  • Raised ICP can result in changes in consciousness, which may manifest as confusion, agitation, or reduced responsiveness.

3. Acute Pain related to increased ICP or headache:

  • Headaches are a common symptom of raised ICP, and effective pain management is crucial for patient comfort.

4. Risk for Aspiration related to decreased level of consciousness:

  • Patients with altered mental status are at risk of aspiration, and preventive measures are essential.

5. Impaired Physical Mobility related to neurological deficits:

  • Patients may experience motor impairments due to raised ICP, which can impact mobility.

6. Risk for Infection related to invasive monitoring devices:

  • If monitoring devices or invasive procedures are used, there is a risk of infection.

7. Anxiety related to the underlying condition and fear of worsening symptoms:

  • Raised ICP can be distressing for patients, leading to anxiety and emotional challenges.

8. Ineffective Coping related to the emotional stress of raised ICP:

  • Patients and their families may require emotional support and coping strategies to manage the psychological impact of the condition.

These nursing diagnoses should be individualized based on the patient’s specific condition, neurological deficits, and underlying causes of raised ICP. Effective care for patients with raised ICP involves symptom management, prevention of complications, emotional support, and patient education. Collaboration with other healthcare professionals, especially neurologists and neurosurgeons, is often necessary to provide comprehensive care for these patients. Regular assessments and ongoing communication with the healthcare team are essential to ensure the best care and outcomes for patients with raised ICP.

Nursing Interventions for Raised Intracranial Pressure (ICP):

Raised intracranial pressure is a critical medical condition that requires prompt intervention to prevent complications. Nursing care for patients with elevated ICP focuses on monitoring, symptom management, and providing support. Here are plagiarism-free nursing interventions for raised intracranial pressure:

1. Continuous Monitoring:

  • Continuously monitor vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation.
  • Maintain strict neurologic monitoring, assessing the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), pupil size, and reactivity, and neurologic reflexes.

2. Elevate Head of Bed:

  • Keep the head of the patient’s bed elevated to 30-45 degrees to promote venous drainage from the head.
  • Ensure proper alignment and head positioning to reduce intracranial pressure.

3. Control Fever:

  • Administer antipyretic medications as prescribed to control fever and prevent exacerbation of elevated ICP.
  • Monitor the patient’s temperature and address any sources of infection.

4. Pain Management:

  • Administer pain relief as needed to minimize discomfort and agitation, which can increase ICP.
  • Use non-pharmacological pain management techniques, such as repositioning and relaxation exercises.

5. Maintain Normocarbia:

  • Monitor arterial blood gases to ensure normocarbia (normal carbon dioxide levels) to prevent cerebral vasodilation.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to adjust mechanical ventilation settings as needed.

6. Avoid Valsalva Maneuver:

  • Instruct the patient to avoid activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure, such as straining during bowel movements or coughing.
  • Encourage the use of stool softeners to prevent constipation.

7. Fluid Management:

  • Maintain strict fluid balance, adjusting intravenous fluids to prevent overhydration or dehydration.
  • Monitor urine output and electrolyte levels.

8. Sedation and Paralysis:

  • Administer sedation and neuromuscular blocking agents as prescribed to manage agitation and reduce cerebral metabolic demand.
  • Implement continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring to assess the patient’s response to sedation.

9. Seizure Prevention:

  • Administer antiepileptic medications as prescribed to prevent seizures, which can exacerbate elevated ICP.
  • Monitor for seizure activity and provide seizure precautions as needed.

Nursing care for patients with raised intracranial pressure is challenging and requires vigilant monitoring and symptom management. Effective interventions aim to reduce ICP, prevent complications, and optimize the patient’s neurological outcome. The collaboration between nursing and medical teams is crucial to ensuring the best care for these patients.


In conclusion, the nursing care plan for patients with raised intracranial pressure (ICP) is a comprehensive framework designed to address the assessment, management, and support of individuals facing this critical neurological condition. Raised ICP can result from a variety of underlying causes and presents a significant threat to patients’ neurological well-being.

The care plan emphasizes the importance of early detection and continuous monitoring of ICP levels, as well as prompt interventions to prevent complications and optimize patient outcomes. It recognizes the significance of neurological assessment, symptom management, and emotional support, as patients with raised ICP often experience pain, changes in consciousness, and emotional distress.

Nurses play a pivotal role in providing patient-centered care, administering treatments, and offering emotional support to individuals and their families. Collaborating with the healthcare team, particularly neurologists, neurosurgeons, and radiologists, is essential for coordinating care and ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients with raised ICP.

By adhering to the principles outlined in this care plan, healthcare professionals can contribute to the safety, comfort, and potential recovery of patients with raised ICP, ultimately enhancing their quality of life and neurological well-being.


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