3 Sample Nursing Care Plans for Meningitis| nursing diagnosis |nursing interventions

Last updated on December 28th, 2023

Here we’ll formulate a scenario-based sample nursing care plan for Meningitis. It will include three sample nursing care plans with NANDA nursing diagnosis, nursing assessment, expected outcome, nursing interventions, and rationales.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis refers to the inflammation of the meninges (i.e., fluids and membranes covering the brain and spinal cord). It is a very serious disease with a high case fatality rate and debilitating long-term complications.

Meningitis can be caused by a number of organisms. Namely, Bacterial Meningitis, Viral Meningitis, Fungal Meningitis, Parasitic Meningitis, and Amebic Meningitis.

Among all the types of meningitis, bacterial meningitis is particularly dangerous. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people who get bacterial meningitis die and 1 in 5 have severe complications.

Nursing Care Plan for Meningitis – Case Scenario

An 18-year old male presents to the ED with complaints of headache, lethargy, nausea, and neck pain for 3 weeks. The patient says that he was sick with an upper respiratory infection a month ago and that, while the respiratory symptoms improved, he feels that he hasn’t been the same since. His mother reports that the patient began his first semester of college in August and that he currently resides in a dormitory on the school campus. She reports that the patient has been having memory problems, unable to recall what he ate for breakfast, or who he spoke to on the phone.

The patient appears to be diaphoretic and his temperature is 38.5 C. His heart rate is 114 BPM, blood pressure is 123/82 (72) mmHg, respiratory rate is 20 breaths per minute, and oxygen saturation is 98% on room air. He appropriately answers orientation questions but appears quite drowsy.

When the patient’s leg is lifted, flexing the hip to 90 degrees, the patient winces and is unable to straighten the leg, exhibiting a positive Kernig’s sign. While lying down, the nurse notices that when the patient’s neck is flexed forward, the hips and knees also flex, displaying a positive Brudzinski’s sign.

The patient is taken for a head CT scan which shows frontal sinusitis and ventriculitis. Following a lumbar puncture, the CSF analysis reveals protein is 163 mg/dL, glucose is 35 mg/dL, and white blood cells are 1200 mm3. The CSF is noted to be cloudy and reveals positive cultures with gram-positive streptococcus.

The patient is admitted to the hospital with Bacterial Meningitis.

#1 Nursing Care Plan for Meningitis – Risk for Ineffective Cerebral Tissue Perfusion

Nursing Assessment

Subjective Data:

  • The patient complains of headache, lethargy, and neck pain
  • The patient’s mother reports memory changes

Objective Data:

  • Positive Kernig’s and Brudzinski’s sign
  • CT scan shows ventriculitis

Nursing Diagnosis

Risk for ineffective cerebral tissue perfusion related to inflammation of the brain as evidenced by headache, lethargy, neck pain, and memory changes.

Goal/Desired Outcome

Short-term goal: The patient’s intracranial pressure will remain normal and the patient will verbalize an improvement of symptoms

Long-term goal: The patient will suffer no residual neurological dysfunction

Nursing interventions with rationale for Meningitis – Risk for ineffective cerebral tissue perfusion

Nursing InterventionsRationales 
Monitor intracranial pressure and neurological statusMeningitis can cause an increase of pressure in the brain which can lead to serious brain damage. Signs and symptoms of increasing ICP include decreasing level of consciousness, vision changes, worsening headache, seizures, and increased respiratory effort
Administer Mannitol as prescribedMannitol is an osmotic diuretic that promotes cerebral blood flow and thus lowers ICP
Administer Dexamethasone as prescribedDexamethasone is a steroid that lessens inflammation
If ICP remains high, prepare to insert a lumbar drainA lumbar drain is a small catheter inserted into the lower spine which facilitates the continuous drainage of CSF
Keep the head and neck in midline position and the bed elevated at 30 degreesTurning the head can compress the jugular veins, preventing venous drainage and thus increasing ICP. Head elevation promotes venous drainage
Limit visitors and promote a calm, quiet, and dark environmentMinimizing stimulation helps decrease ICP. Darkness helps with the photophobia common with meningitis

#2 Nursing Care Plan for Meningitis – Risk for Shock

Nursing Assessment

Subjective Data:

  • The patient reports a recent upper respiratory infection

Objective Data:

  • Temperature 38.5 C
  • HR 114 BPM
  • CSF is positive for gram-positive streptococcus

Nursing Diagnosis

Risk for shock related to infection as evidenced by fever, tachycardia, and positive CSF cultures

Goal/Desired Outcome

Short-term goal: The patient’s temperature and heart rate will normalize by the end of the shift

Long-term goal: The patient will receive the full course of antibiotics and the infection will resolve, leaving no long-term complications

Nursing interventions with rationale for Meningitis – Risk for shock

Nursing InterventionsRationales 
Promptly administer antibiotics as prescribedAntibiotics are the first line of treatment for bacterial meningitis. Mortality significantly increases the longer the time to antibiotic administration
For bacterial meningitis, place the patient on droplet precautionsBacterial meningitis is spread through droplets and can be generated during coughing, sneezing, or talking. Masks, eye protection, and gloves should be worn for protection
Utilize temperature control measures to decrease feverAntipyretics, cooling blankets, and ice packs can reduce fevers and subsequently decrease the oxygen consumption of the body
Enforce bedrest Bedrest is recommended during the acute phase of infection to decrease oxygen consumption

#3 Nursing Care Plan for Meningitis – Risk for Injury

Nursing Assessment

Subjective Data:

  • The patient complains of lethargy
  • His mother reports memory problems 

Objective Data:

  • The patient appears drowsy
  • CT scan shows ventriculitis

Nursing Diagnosis

Risk for injury related to seizures and falls as evidenced by ventriculitis, lethargy, and memory problems

Goal/Desired Outcome

Short-term goal: The patient remains safe without no seizure activity by the end of the shift

Long-term goal: The patient has no long-term neurological dysfunction 

Nursing interventions with rationale for Meningitis – Risk for injury

Nursing InterventionsRationales 
Utilize padded side railsSeizures are common with meningitis and side rails should be padded to prevent patient injury
Administer anticonvulsants as needed for seizuresAnticonvulsants such as Dilantin and Valium can terminate and prevent future seizures which can cause brain damage
Perform a fall risk evaluation and enact the proper safety interventionsAltered level of consciousness and risk for seizures means the patient is a high risk for a fall
Monitor for auditory and visual side effectsHearing loss and visual disturbances are long-term complicati0ns of meningitis 
Coordinate rehabilitative care in both the short and long termRehabilitation is needed throughout recovery to improve potential neurological dysfunctions


Here, we’ve created a hypothetical scenario-based nursing care plan for a meningitis patient. Including nursing assessment, NANDA nursing diagnoses, expected outcome, and nursing intervention for meningitis with rationales.


Ackley, B., Ladwig, G., Makic, M., Martinez-Kratz, M., & Zanotti, M. (2020). Nursing Diagnoses Handbook: An Evidence-based Guide to Planning Care (12th ed.). Elsevier.

Herdman, T., Kamitsuru, S. & Lopes, C. (2021). NURSING DIAGNOSES: Definitions and Classifications 2021-2023 (12th ed.). Thieme.

Swearingen, P. (2016). ALL-IN-ONE CARE PLANNING RESOURCE (4th ed.). Elsevier/Mosby.

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