A nurse in the medical ICU is caring for a patient with liver failure related to cirrhosis. Physical assessment reveals increasing ascites. The nurse reviews the patient's daily laboratory results and notes the albumin level is 2.9 g/dL. Which of the following would be an appropriate nursing action?
Normal Albumin range: 3.5 - 5.0g/dL
•Patients with cirrhosis and liver failure often have low albumin levels. Albumin is the measurement of protein in the bloodstream. These patients often have dietary needs for increased protein.
•Ascites (abdominal fluid retention) is a common occurrence in cirrhosis and liver failure and can lead to physical discomfort. Patients with ascites should be maintained in an upright position with the head of the bed elevated to at least 45 degrees. This will reduce shortness of breath from the abdominal fluid restricting the diaphragm during respiration.