Nursing Care Plan for Cellulitis

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  1. Cellulitis Pathophysiology
  2. Nursing Assessment for Cellulitis
  3. Nursing Interventions for Cellulitis

Cellulitis Pathophysiology

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that occurs when bacteria enter the skin through a break or crack in the skin. The infection affects the skin and subcutaneous tissue, causing inflammation and swelling.

Causes of Cellulitis

Cellulitis is typically caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria, which are commonly found on the skin. Risk factors for cellulitis include poor circulation, diabetes, and a weakened immune system.

Cellulitis Symptoms

  • Redness
  • Swelling, warmth, tenderness, and pain in the affected area
  • Tight and/or shiny skin
  • Fever
  • Chills

Subjective Data (Client may report)

The client may report 

  • Pain, tenderness, and/or warmth in the affected area
  • Fever
  • Chills

Objective Data

  • Redness, swelling, warmth, and/or tenderness in the affected area
  • Pus or other drainage
  • Tight and/or shiny skin

Cellulitis Risk Factors

Risk factors for cellulitis include 

  • Poor circulation
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Obesity
  • History of skin infections

Nursing Assessment for Cellulitis

During the nursing assessment, it is important to assess the affected area for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness. The nurse should also assess the client’s vital signs to include temperature and overall health status.

Cardiac Function

Assess the client’s cardiac function by monitoring their blood pressure, heart rate, and rhythm.

Respiratory Function

Assess the client’s respiratory function while also monitoring their breathing, oxygen saturation levels, and lung sounds.

Neurologic Function

Assess the client’s neurologic function by monitoring their level of consciousness, reflexes, and sensory function.

Sensory Function

Gently palpate the wound area, as well as proximal and distal to the wound to assess for temperature and pain. 

Labs for Cellulitis

Draw the prescribed labs to evaluate the client’s white blood cell count (WBC) and obtain prescribed cultures and report the results to the health care provider (HCP). Increased WBC and positive cultures will indicate an infection.

Nursing Interventions for Cellulitis

  • Perform wound care as prescribed.
  • Provide elevation, and warm compresses can reduce swelling and decrease pain.
  • Monitor the client’s vital signs and overall health status.
  • Administer antibiotics as prescribed.
  • Isolation may be indicated if the client has an open wound contact.

Goals and Outcomes

  • Reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area.
  • Preventing the spread of infection.
  • Promoting wound healing.

The expected outcomes include resolution of symptoms and improvement in the client’s overall health status.