7 Spina Bifida Nursing Care Plans


Spina bifida involves the failure of the neural tube to develop or close during embryonic development causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones of the spine. There are two types of spina bifida: spina bifida occulta is the most common and is a defect in the closure without the herniation and exposure of the spinal cord or meninges at the surface of the skin in the lumbosacral area. While spina bifida cystica (meningocele or myelomeningocele) is a defect in the closure of a sac and herniated protrusion of meninges, spinal fluid and possibly some part of the spinal cord and nerves at the surface of the skin in the lumbosacral or sacral area.

Hydrocephalus is often related with spina bifida cystica. The extent of neurologic impairment are associated to the location and nerves involved in the defect and range from varying degrees of sensory deficits, to partial or total loss of motor function resulting in flaccidity, partial paralysis of lower extremities, and bowel and urinary incontinence.

There are several different treatments that can be used to manage symptoms or conditions associated with spina bifida such as surgery to close the opening in the spine which may be done during infancy or later, physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy, use of assistive devices and mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair, or walking aids, and urinary and bowel management.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning goals for clients with spina bifida include prevent infection, maintain skin integrity, prevent trauma related to disuse, increase family coping skills, education about the condition, and support.

Here are seven (7) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for spina bifida:

  1. Hypothermia
  2. Impaired Urinary Elimination
  3. Bowel Incontinence
  4. Disturbed Body Image
  5. Interrupted Family Processes
  6. Risk for Infection
  7. Risk for Injury

Bowel Incontinence

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Neuromuscular involvement

Possibly evidenced by

  • Constant dribbling or involvement passage of stool
  • Poor anal sphincter tone and control
  • Impaired skin integrity caused by continuous contact with liquid stool

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will participate in bowel control regimen.
  • Child will be able to control elimination.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess presence of neurogenic bowel, the degree of incontinence, the potential for rehabilitation. Provides information about the condition for use in the plan of establishing bowel elimination routine.
Place child on a toilet or potty chair at the same time each day; use stimulation and suppository if needed. Establishes a routine for elimination to empty bowel.
Teach parents on correct cleansing and diapering techniques of infant/toddler. Promotes understanding to maintain good skin integrity.
Change diapers as quickly as feasible; cleanse perianal area carefully. Dry, clean skin resist breakdown.
Apply barrier creams as prescribed to the perianal area during diapering. Prevents skin breakdown.
Suggest clothing and undergarments to protect from staining accidents. Promotes self-image and prevents embarrassing incidents.
Apply padding in waterproof undergarments but avoid the use of diapers. Prevents embarrassment for the child if bowel elimination not controlled.
Encourage fluid intake of up to 2,000 ml/day depending on age; include fiber and roughage in the diet. Promotes bulk for easier and more manageable passage.
Teach parents and child about program for control of bowel incontinence (fluids, diet, routine toileting, use of stimulation). Promotes success in bowel training.
Teach about behavior modification as a method to be used for bowel rehabilitation. Promotes compliance with the routine to control bowel incontinence.

See Also

You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Maternal and Newborn Care Plans

Nursing care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her infant. See care plans for maternity and obstetric nursing:

Paul Martin is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2007. Having worked as a medical-surgical nurse for five years, he handled different kinds of patients and learned how to provide individualized care to them. Now, his experiences working in the hospital is carried over to his writings to help aspiring students achieve their goals. He is currently working as a nursing instructor and have a particular interest in nursing management, emergency care, critical care, infection control, and public health. As a writer at Nurseslabs, his goal is to impart his clinical knowledge and skills to students and nurses helping them become the best version of themselves and ultimately make an impact in uplifting the nursing profession.

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