Implement standard precautions.
Give prescribed drugs such as I.V. trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole over 60 to 90 minutes, initiate I.V. access if not already available, and maintain I.V. patency.
If pentamidine isethionate is ordered, obtain necessary laboratory tests, such as daily blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, blood glucose levels, complete blood count, platelets, and liver function studies; maintain the patient in a supine position to prevent injury secondary to changes in blood pressure associated with pentamidine.
Administer I.V. fluids as ordered; provide small, frequent, well-balanced meals and snacks.
Auscultate lung sounds for changes; anticipate the need for endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation should patient's respiratory status deteriorate.
Administer oxygen as ordered based on oxygen saturation levels and ABG results.
Encourage ambulation if appropriate; urge the patient to perform deep-breathing exercises, and use incentive spirometry every 2 hours.
Provide adequate rest periods; cluster care activities to allow for rest periods and minimize oxygen demands.
Encourage the patient to express fears, feelings, and concerns; listen actively and nonjudgmentally; and provide emotional support, guidance, and encouragement.