Viral Hepatitis Nursing Care Plan and Management


  • Is a viral infection of the liver associated with a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations from asymptomatic infection through icteric hepatitis to hepatic necrosis.
Five forms of viral hepatits
Type A Hepatitis (HAV), (infectious hepatitis)
  • Is caused by an RNA virus of the enterovirus family.
  • It spreads primarily by fecal-oral route, usually through the ingestion of infected food or liquids.
  • It may also spread from person-to-person contact and, rarely, by blood transfusion.
  • Type A hepatitis occurs worldwide, especially in areas with overcrowding and poor sanitation.
Type B Hepatitis (HBW), (serum hepatitis)
  • Is caused by a double-shelled virus containing DNA.
  • It spreads primarily through blood (percutaneous and permucosal route).
  • It can also spread by way of saliva, breast feeding, or sexual activity (blood, semen, saliva, or vaginal secretions.
  • Male homosexuals are at high risk for infection.
  • After acute infection, 10% of patients progress on to carrier status or develop chronic hepatitis.
  • HBV is the main cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Type C Hepatitis (HCV),( non-A, non-B hepatitis or posttransfusion hepatitis)
  • Formerly called non-A, non-B hepatitis, usually spreads through blood or blood product transfusion, usually from asymptomatic blood donors.
  • It may also be transmitted through unsterile piercing or tattooing tools or dyes.
  • It commonly affects I.V. drug users and renal dialysis patients and personnel.
  • HCV is the most common form of postransfusion hepatitis.
Type D Hepatitis (HDV),(delta agent hepatitis)
  • Also known as Delta hepatitis.
  • Is caused by a defective RNA virus that requires the presence of hepatitis B-specifically, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) – to replicate.
  • HDV occurs along with HBV or may superinfect a chronic HBV carrier, and cannot outlast a hepatitis B infection.
  • It occurs primarily in I.V. drug abusers or those who have had multiple blood transfusions, but the highest incidence is in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and South America.
Type E Hepatitis (HEV),(enterically transmitted or epidemic non-A, non-B)
  • Is caused by a nonenveloped, single-strand RNA virus.
  • It transmitted by the fecal-oral route but is hard to detect because it is inconsistently shed in the feces.
  • Its occurence is primarily in India, Africa, Asia, or Central America.
Fulminant Hepatitis
  • Is a rare but severe complication of hepatitis, which may require liver transplantation.


Stages of Viral Hepatitis
  1. Preicteric Stage- The first stage of hepatitis preceding the apperance of jaundice.
  2. Icteric Stage– The second stage of Hepatitis, which includes the apperance of jaundice and associated symptoms such as elevated bilirubin levels, dark or tea-colored urine, and clay-colored stools
  3. Posticteric Stage- The convalescent stage in which the jaundice decreases and the color of the urine and stool return to normal.
Causes/ Risk Factors
  • Hepatitis can be caused by bacteria,by hepatotoxic agents (drugs,alcohol,industrial chemicals), or most commonly,by a virus.
patho of hepaAssessment
Type A hepatitis
  • Incubation period, 3 to 5 weeks.
  • Prodromal symptoms: fatigue, anorexia, malaise, headache, low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting. Highly contagious at this time, usually 2 weeks before onset of jaundice.
  • Icteric phase: jaundice, tea-colored urine, clay0colored stools, right upper quadrant pain and tenderness.
  • Symptoms often milder in children.
Type B hepatitis
  • Incubation period, 2 to 3 months.
  • Prodronal symptoms (insidious onset): fatigue, anorexia, transient fever, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, headache.
  • May also have myalgias, photophobia, arthritis, angioedema, urticaria, maculopapular rash, vasculitis.
  • Icteric phase occurs 1 week to 2 months after onset of symptoms.
Type C hepatitis
  • Incubation period, 6 weeks to several months.
  • Similar to HBV but less severe.
Type D hepatitis
  • Unclear incubation period.
  • Similar to HBV but more severe.
Applicable to all type:
  • Obtain a patient history. Ask about I.V. drug use, blood transfusions, contact with infected persons (including sexual activity), travel to endemic areas, and ingestion of possible contaminated food or water to help determine cause of hepatitis.
Diagnostic Evaluation
  1. All forms of hepatitis; elevated serum transferase levels (aspartate aminotransferase, lanine aminotransferase); may have abnormal clotting tests.
  2. HAV: radioimmunoassay detects immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to hepatitis A virus in the acute phase.
  3. HBV: radioimmunoassays detect hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), anti-HBsAg in various stages of hepatitis B infection.
  4. HCV: hepatitis C antibody may not be detected for 3 to 6 months after onset of illness (used for screening); polymerase chain reaction testing evaluates viral activity.
  5. HDV: anti-delta antibodies in the presence of HBsAg, or detection of IgM in acute disease and IgG in chronic disease.
  6. Hepatitis E antigen (with HCV ruled out).
  7. If indicated, prepare the patient for liver biopsy to detect chronic active disease, track progression, and evaluate response to therapy.
Primary Nursing Diagnosis
  • Altered nutrition:Less than body requirements related to decreased oral intake, nausea, vomiting,and anorexia
Pharmacologic Intervention
  • Vitamin K injected subcutaneously (S.C.) if prothrombin time is prolonged.
  • I.V. fluid and electrolyte replacements as indicated.
  • Antiemetic for nausea.
  • Long-term interferon therapy in combination with oral ribavirin may produce remission inHCV patients. Peginterferon alfa-2b is a long-acting preparation given S.C., once per week, and ribavirin is taken twice daily.
  • Antiviral treatment is being investigated for HBV.
Nursing Intervention
  1. Monitor hydration through intake and output.
  2. Monitor prothrombin time and for signs of bleeding.
  3. Encourage the patient to eat meals in a sitting position to reduce pressure on the liver.
  4. Encourage pleasing meals in an environment with minimal noxious stimuli (odors, noise, and interruptions).
  5. Teach self-administration of antiemetics as prescribed.
  6. Encourage rest during symptomatic phase, according to level of fatigue.
  7. Encourage diversional activities when recovery and convalescence are prolonged.
  8. Encourage gradual resumption of activities and mild exercise during convalescent period.
  9. Stress importance of proper public and home sanitation and proper preparation and dispensation of foods.
  10. Encourage specific protection for close contacts.
  11. Explain precautions about transmission and prevention of transmission to others to the patient and family.
  12. Warn the patient to avoid trauma that may cause bruising.
  13. Stress the need to follow precautions with blood and secretions until the patient is deemed free of HBsAg.
  14. Emphasize that most hepatitis is self-limiting, but follow up is needed for liver function tests.
Documentation Guidelines
  • Findings of physical exam and ongoing assessments: Nausea, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, color of stools and urine, daily weights, vital signs, jaundice, pruritus, edema, ascites, pain, level of consciousness
  • Response to medical and nursing interventions:Medications,comfort measures,diet,hydration
  • Pain:Location, duration,precipitating factors,response to interventions
Discharge and Home Healthcare Guidelines
  • Provide instruction on the prevention of the spread of hepatitis to others. With hepatitis A, do the following for 1 to 2 weeks after the onset of jaundice. Use strict hand washing after bowel movements and before meals. Have separate toilet facilities if possible (if not,clean the seat with bleach after each use). Wash linens,towels,and undergarments separately from other items in hot,soapy water. Do not donate blood or work in food services until such work is cleared by a physician.
  • With hepatitis B,C,or D,do the following,as directed by a physician,until antigen-antibody tests are negative. Maintain strict hand washing after urination and defecation. Do not share personal items (toothbrush, razor,washcloth). Use disposable eating utensils or wash utensils separately in hot, soapy water. Do not share food or eating utensils. Do not share needles, and dispose of them properly after a single use. Avoid intimate sexual contact; when sex can be resumed, use a condom and avoid intercourse during menstruation. Do not donate blood. Instruct the patient to inform household members and sexual partners of the fact that she or he has developed hepatitis and to encourage them to notify a primary healthcare provider immediately to assess the risk of the disease.
  • To prevent complications, teach the patient to avoid alcohol for 6 months to 1 year, avoid illicit drugs and toxic chemicals, and take acetaminophen only when necessary and not beyond the recommended dosage. Note that in viral hepatitis, the patient has immunity only to the type of hepatitis he or she has had.


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Saunders, Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX_RN Exam , 2005 ed
Marilyn Sawyer Sommers, RN, PhD, FAAN , Susan A. Johnson, RN, PhD, Theresa A. Beery, PhD, RN , DISEASES AND DISORDERS A Nursing Therapeutics Manual, 2007 3rd ed



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Nursing Care Plan

Nursing Care Plan for Hepatitis

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Nutrition: imbalanced, less than body requirements
May be related to
  • Insufficient intake to meet metabolic demands: anorexia, nausea/vomiting
  • Altered absorption and metabolism of ingested foods: reduced peristalsis (visceral reflexes), bile stasis
  • Increased calorie needs/hypermetabolic state
Possibly evidenced by
  • Aversion to eating/lack of interest in food; altered taste sensation
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Loss of weight; poor muscle tone
Desired Outcomes
  • Initiate behaviors, lifestyle changes to regain/maintain appropriate weight.
  • Demonstrate progressive weight gain toward goal with normalization of laboratory values and no signs of malnutrition.
Nursing Interventions
  • Monitor dietary intake and caloric count. Suggest several small feedings and offer “largest” meal at breakfast.
    • Rationale: Large meals are difficult to manage when patient is anorexic. Anorexia may also worsen during the day, making intake of food difficult later in the day.
  • Encourage mouth care before meals.
    • Rationale: Enhances appetite by eliminating unpleasant taste.
  • Recommend eating in upright position.
    • Rationale: Reduces sensation of abdominal fullness and may enhance intake.
  • Encourage intake of fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and hard candy throughout the day.
    • Rationale: These supply extra calories and may be more easily digested or tolerated than other foods.
  • Consult with dietitian, nutritional support team to provide diet according to patient’s needs, with fat and protein intake as tolerated.
    • Rationale: Useful in formulating dietary program to meet individual needs. Fat metabolism varies according to bile production and excretion and may necessitate restriction of fat intake if diarrhea develops. If tolerated, a normal or increased protein intake helps with liver regeneration. Protein restriction may be indicated in severe disease (fulminant hepatitis) because the accumulation of the end products of protein metabolism can potentiate hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Monitor serum glucose as indicated.
    • Rationale: Hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia may develop, necessitating dietary changes and insulin administration. Fingerstick monitoring may be done by patient on a regular schedule to determine therapy needs.
Administer medications as indicated:
  • Antiemetics: metoclopramide (Reglan), trimethobenzamide (Tigan)
    • Rationale: Given 1/2 hr before meals, may reduce nausea and increase food tolerance. Prochlorperazine (Compazine) is contraindicated in hepatic disease.
  • Antacids: Mylanta, Titralac
    • Rationale: Counteracts gastric acidity, reducing gastric irritation and risk of bleeding.
  • Vitamins: B complex, C, other dietary supplements as indicated
    • Rationale: Corrects deficiencies and aids in the healing process.
  • Steroid therapy: prednisone (Deltasone), alone or in combination with azathioprine (Imuran)
    • Rationale: Steroids may be contraindicated because they can increase risk of relapse and development of chronic hepatitis in patients with viral hepatitis; however, anti-inflammatory effect may be useful in chronic active hepatitis (especially idiopathic) to reduce nausea and vomiting and enable patient to retain food and fluids. Steroids may decrease serum aminotransferase and bilirubin levels, but they do not affect liver necrosis or regeneration. Combination therapy has fewer steroid-related side effects.
  • Provide supplemental feedings and TPN if needed.
    • Rationale: May be necessary to meet caloric requirements if marked deficits are present and symptoms are prolonged.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume
Risk factors may include
  • Excessive losses through vomiting and diarrhea, third-space shift
  • Altered clotting process
Possibly evidenced by
  • Not applicable. A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms, as the problem has not occurred and nursing interventions are directed at prevention.
Desired Outcomes
  • Maintain adequate hydration, as evidenced by stable vital signs, good skin turgor, capillary refill, strong peripheral pulses, and individually appropriate urinary output.
  • Be free of signs of hemorrhage with clotting times WNL.
Nursing Interventions
  • Monitor I&O, compare with periodic weight. Note enteric losses: vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Rationale: Provides information about replacement needs and effects of therapy. Diarrhea may be due to transient flu-like response to viral infection or may represent a more serious problem of obstructed portal blood flow with vascular congestion in the GI tract, or it may be the intended result of medication use (neomycin, lactulose) to decrease serum ammonia levels in the presence of hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Assess vital signs, peripheral pulses, capillary refill, skin turgor, and mucous membranes.
    • Rationale: Indicators of circulating volume and perfusion.
  • Check for ascites or edema formation. Measure abdominal girth as indicated.
    • Rationale: Useful in monitoring progression and resolution of fluid shifts.
  • Use small-gauge needles for injections, applying pressure for longer than usual after venipuncture.
    • Rationale: Reduces possibility of bleeding into tissues.
  •  Have patient use cotton or sponge swabs and mouthwash instead of toothbrush or use soft bristled toothbrush.
    • Rationale: Avoids trauma and bleeding of the gums.
  • Observe for signs of bleeding: hematuria, melena, ecchymosis, oozing from gums, puncture sites
    • Rationale: Prothrombin levels are reduced and coagulation times prolonged when vitamin K absorption is altered in GI tract and synthesis of prothrombin is decreased in affected liver.
  • Monitor periodic laboratory values: Hb/Hct, Na, albumin, and clotting times.
    • Rationale: Reflects hydration and identifies sodium retention/protein deficits, which may lead to edema formation. Deficits in clotting potentiate risk of bleeding and hemorrhage.
  • Administer antidiarrheal agents: diphenoxylate with atropine (Lomotil).
    • Rationale: Reduces fluid and electrolyte loss from GI tract.
  • Provide IV fluids (usually glucose), electrolytes. Protein hydrolysates.
    • Rationale: Provides fluid and electrolyte replacement in acute toxic state.
Administer medications as indicated:
  • Vitamin K
    • Rationale: Correction of albumin and protein deficits can aid in return of fluid from tissues to the circulatory system. Because absorption is altered, supplementation may prevent coagulation problems, which may occur if clotting factors and prothrombin time (PT) is depressed.
  • Antacids or H2-receptor antagonists: cimetidine (Tagamet).
    • Rationale: Neutralize and reduce gastric secretions to lower risk of gastric irritation and bleeding.
  • Infuse fresh frozen plasma, as indicated.
    • Rationale: May be required to replace clotting factors in the presence of coagulation defects.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Fatigue
May be related to
  • Decreased metabolic energy production
  • States of discomfort
  • Altered body chemistry (e.g., changes in liver function, effect on target organs)
Possibly evidenced by
  • Reports of lack of energy/inability to maintain usual routines.
  • Decreased performance
  • Increase in physical complaints
Desired Outcomes
  • Report improved sense of energy.
  • Perform ADLs and participate in desired activities at level of ability.
Nursing Interventions
  • Institute bed red or chair rest during toxic state. Provide quiet environment; limit visitors as needed.
    • Rationale: Promotes rest and relaxation. Available energy is used for healing. Activity and an upright position are believed to decrease hepatic blood flow, which prevents optimal circulation to the liver cells.
  • Recommend changing position frequently. Provide and instruct caregiver in good skin care.
    • Rationale: Promotes optimal respiratory function and minimizes pressure areas to reduce risk of tissue breakdown.
  • Do necessary tasks quickly and at one time as tolerated.
    • Rationale: Allows for extended periods of uninterrupted rest.
  • Determine and prioritize role responsibilities and alternative providers and possible community resources available
    • Rationale: Promotes problem solving of most pressing needs of individual and family.
  • Identify energy-conserving techniques: sitting to shower and brush teeth, planning steps of activity so that all needed materials are at hand, scheduling rest periods.
    • Rationale: Helps minimize fatigue, allowing patient to accomplish more and feel better about self.
  • Increase activity as tolerated, demonstrate passive or active ROM exercises.
    • Rationale: Prolonged bedrest can be debilitating. This can be offset by limited activity alternating with rest periods.
  • Encourage use of stress management techniques: progressive relaxation, visualization, guided imagery. Discuss appropriate diversional activities: radio, TV, reading
    • Rationale: Promotes relaxation and conserves energy, redirects attention, and may enhance coping.
  • Monitor for recurrence of anorexia and liver tenderness or enlargement.
    • Rationale: Indicates lack of resolution and exacerbation of the disease, requiring further rest, change in therapeutic regimen.
  • Administer medications as indicated: sedatives, antianxiety agents: diazepam(Valium), lorazepam (Ativan).
    • Rationale: Assists in managing required rest. Use of barbiturates and antianxiety agents, such as prochlorperazine (Compazine) and chlorpromazine (Thorazine), is contraindicated because of hepatotoxic effects.
  • Monitor serial liver enzyme levels.
    • Rationale: Aids in determining appropriate levels of activity because premature increase in activity potentiates risk of relapse.
  • Administer antidote or assist with inpatient procedures as indicated (lavage, catharsis, hyperventilation) depending on route of exposure.
    • Rationale: Removal of causative agent in toxic hepatitis may limit degree of tissue involvement and damage.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
Risk factors may include
  • Chemical substance: bile salt accumulation in the tissues
Possibly evidenced by
  • Not applicable. A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms, as the problem has not occurred and nursing interventions are directed at prevention.
Desired Outcomes
  • Display intact skin/tissues, free of excoriation.
  • Report absence/decrease of pruritus/scratching.
Nursing Interventions
  • Encourage use of cool showers and baking soda or starch baths. Avoid use of alkaline soaps. Apply calamine lotion as indicated.
    • Rationale: Prevents excessive dryness of skin. Provides relief from itching.
  • Provide diversional activities.
    • Rationale: Aids in refocusing attention, reducing tendency to scratch.
  • Suggest use of knuckles if desire to scratch is uncontrollable. Keep fingernails cut short, apply gloves on comatose patient or during hours of sleep. Recommend loose-fitting clothing. Provide soft cotton linens.
    • Rationale: Reduces potential for dermal injury.
  • Provide a soothing massage at bedtime.
    • Rationale: May be helpful in promoting sleep by reducing skin irritation.
  • Observe skin for areas of redness, breakdown.
    • Rationale: Early detection of problem areas allows for additional intervention to prevent complications/promote healing.
  • Avoid comments regarding patient’s appearance.
    • Rationale: Minimizes psychological stress associated with skin changes.
Administer medications as indicated:
  • Antihistamines: diphenhydramine (Benadryl), azatadine (optimine);
    • Rationale: Relieves itching. Use cautiously in severe hepatic disease.
  • Antilipemics: cholestyramine (Questran).
    • Rationale: May be used to bind bile acids in the intestine and prevent their absorption. Note side effects of nausea and constipation.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Knowledge Deficit
May be related to
  • Lack of exposure/recall; information misinterpretation
  • Unfamiliarity with resources
Possibly evidenced by
  • Questions or statements of misconception; request for information
  • Inaccurate follow-through of instructions; development of preventable complications
Desired Outcomes
  • Verbalize understanding of disease process, prognosis, and potential complications.
  • Identify relationship of signs/symptoms to the disease and correlate symptoms with causative factors.
  • Verbalize understanding of therapeutic needs.
  • Initiate necessary lifestyle changes and participate in treatment regimen.
Nursing Interventions
  • Assess level of understanding of the disease process, expectations and prognosis, possible treatment options.
    • Rationale: Identifies areas of lack of knowledge or misinformation and provides opportunity to give additional information as necessary. Liver transplantation may be needed in the presence of fulminating disease with liver failure.
  • Provide specific information regarding prevention and transmission of disease: contacts may require gamma-globulin; personal items should not be shared; observe strict handwashing and sanitizing of clothes, dishes, and toilet facilities while liver enzymes are elevated. Avoid intimate contact, such as kissing and sexual contact, and exposure to infections, especially URI.
    • Rationale: Needs and recommendations vary with type of hepatitis (causative agent) and individual situation.
  • Plan resumption of activity as tolerated with adequate periods of rest. Discuss restriction of heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and/or contact sport.
    • Rationale: It is not necessary to wait until serum bilirubin levels return to normal to resume activity (may take as long as 2 mo), but strenuous activity needs to be limited until the liver returns to normal size. When patient begins to feel better, he or she needs to understand the importance of continued adequate rest in preventing relapse or recurrence (Relapse occurs in 5%–25% of adults). Energy level may take up to 3–6 mo to return to normal.
  • Help patient identify appropriate diversional activities.
    • Rationale: Enjoyable activities promote rest and help patient avoid focusing on prolonged convalescence.
  • Encourage continuation of balanced diet.
    • Rationale: Promotes general well-being and enhances energy for healing process and tissue regeneration.
  • Identify ways to maintain usual bowel function: adequate intake of fluids and dietary roughage, moderate activity and exercise to tolerance.
    • Rationale: Decreased level of activity, changes in food and fluid intake, and slowed bowel motility may result in constipation.
  • Discuss the side effects and dangers of taking OTC and prescribed drugs (acetaminophen, aspirin, sulfonamides, some anesthetics) and necessity of notifying future healthcare providers of diagnosis.
    • Rationale: Some drugs are toxic to the liver; many others are metabolized by the liver and should be avoided in severe liver diseases because they may cause cumulative toxic effects and chronic hepatitis.
  • Discuss restrictions on donating blood.
    • Rationale: Prevents spread of infectious disease. Most state laws prevent accepting as donors those who have a history of any type of hepatitis.
  • Emphasize importance of follow-up physical examination and laboratory evaluation.
    • Rationale: Disease process may take several months to resolve. If symptoms persist longer than 6 mo, liver biopsy may be required to verify presence of chronic hepatitis.
  • Review necessity of avoidance of alcohol for a minimum of 6–12 mo or longer based on individual tolerance.
    • Rationale: Increases hepatic irritation and may interfere with recovery.
  • Refer to community resources, drug/alcohol treatment program as indicated.
    • Rationale: May need additional assistance to withdraw from substance and maintain abstinence to avoid further liver damage.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Situational Low Self-Esteem
May be related to
  • Annoying/debilitating symptoms, confinement/isolation, length of illness/recovery period
Possibly evidenced by
  • Verbalization of change in lifestyle; fear of rejection/reaction of others, negative feelings about body; feelings of helplessness
  • Depression, lack of follow-through, self-destructive behavior
Desired Outcomes
  • Verbalize feelings.
  • Identify feelings and methods for coping with negative perception of self.
  • Verbalize acceptance of self in situation, including length of recovery/need for isolation.
  • Acknowledge self as worthwhile; be responsible for self.
Nursing Interventions
  • Contract with patient regarding time for listening. Encourage discussion of feelings/concerns.
    • Rationale: Establishing time enhances trusting relationship. Providing opportunity to express feelings allows patient to feel more in control of the situation. Verbalization can decrease anxiety and depression and facilitate positive coping behaviors. Patient may need to express feelings about being ill, length and cost of illness, possibility of infecting others, and (in severe illness) fear of death. May have concerns regarding the stigma of the disease.
  • Avoid making moral judgments regarding lifestyle.
    • Rationale: Patient may already feel upset and angry and condemn self; judgments from others will further damage self-esteem. Can also start distrust issues with care worker.
  • Discuss recovery expectations.
    • Rationale: Recovery period may be prolonged (up to 6 mo), potentiating family and/or situational stress and necessitating need for planning, support, and follow-up.
  • Assess effect of illness on economic factors of patient and SO.
    • Rationale: Financial problems may exist because of loss of patient’s role functioning in the family and prolonged recovery.
  • Offer diversional activities based on energy level.
    • Rationale: Enables patient to use time and energy in constructive ways that enhance self-esteem and minimize anxiety and depression.
  • Suggest patient wear bright reds or blues and blacks instead of yellows or greens.
    • Rationale: Enhances appearance, because yellow skin tones are intensified by yellow/green colors. Jaundice usually peaks within 1–2 wk, then gradually resolves over 2–4 wk.
  • Make appropriate referrals for help as needed: case manager, discharge planner, social services, and/or other community agencies.
    • Rationale: Can facilitate problem solving and help involved individuals cope more effectively with situation.

Nursing Diagnosis
  • Risk for Infection
Risk factors may include
  • Inadequate secondary defenses (e.g., leukopenia, suppressed inflammatory response) and immunosuppression
  • Malnutrition
  • Insufficient knowledge to avoid exposure to pathogens
Possibly evidenced by
  • Not applicable. A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms, as the problem has not occurred and nursing interventions are directed at prevention.
Desired Outcomes
  • Verbalize understanding of individual causative/risk factor(s).
  • Demonstrate techniques; initiate lifestyle changes to avoid reinfection/transmission to others.
Nursing Interventions
  • Establish isolation techniques for enteric and respiratory infections according to infection guidelines and policy. Encourage or model effective handwashing.
    • Rationale: Prevents transmission of viral disease to others. Thorough handwashing is effective in preventing virus transmission. Types A and E are transmitted by oral-fecal route, contaminated water, milk, and food (especially inadequately cooked shellfish). Types A, B, C, and D are transmitted by contaminated blood/blood products; needle punctures; open wounds; and contact with saliva, urine, stool, and semen. Incidence of both hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) has increased among healthcare providers and high-risk patients. Toxic and alcoholic hepatitis are not communicable and do not require special measures and isolation.
  • Stress need to monitor and restrict visitors as indicated.
    • Rationale: Patient exposure to infectious processes (especially respiratory) potentiates risk of secondary complications.
  • Explain isolation procedures to patient and SO.
    • Rationale: Understanding reasons for safeguarding themselves and others can lessen feelings of isolation and stigmatization. Isolation may last 2–3 wk from onset of illness, depending on type or duration of symptoms.
  • Give information regarding availability of gamma globulin, ISG, H-BIG, HB vaccine (Recombivax HB, Engerix-B) through health department or family physician
    • Rationale: Immunoglobulins may be effective in preventing viral hepatitis in those who have been exposed, depending on type of hepatitis and period of incubation.
Administer medications as indicated:
  • Antiviral drugs: vidarabine (Vira-A), acyclovir (Zovirax)
    • Rationale: Useful in treating chronic active hepatitis.
  • Interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)
    • Rationale: Treats the symptoms of hepatitis C and may lead to temporary improvement in liver function.
  • Ribavirin
    • Rationale: Used in conjunction with interferon to improve the effectiveness of that drug. Note: These treatments lead to improvement, not cure of the disease.
  • Antibiotics appropriate to causative agents (Gram-negative, anaerobic bacteria) or secondary process.
    • Rationale: Used to treat bacterial hepatitis or to prevent/limit secondary infections.

Other Possible Nursing Diagnoses
  1. Fatigue—generalized weakness, decreased strength/endurance, pain, imposed activity restrictions, depression.
  2. Home Maintenance, impaired—prolonged recovery/chronic condition, insufficient finances, inadequate support systems, unfamiliarity with neighborhood resources.
  3. Nutrition: imbalanced, less than body requirements—insufficient intake to meet metabolic demands: anorexia, nausea/vomiting; altered absorption and metabolism of ingested foods; increased calorie needs/hypermetabolic state.
  4. Infection, risk for—inadequate secondary defenses; malnutrition; insufficient knowledge to avoid exposure to pathogens.