4 Gastroenteritis Nursing Care Plans


Gastroenteritis; Food Poisoning; Stomach Flu; Traveler’s Diarrhea is inflammation of the lining of the stomach and small and large intestines. The most common cause of this disease is infection obtained from consuming food or water. A variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites are associated with gastroenteritis. Viral gastroenteritis also called stomach flu is a very contagious form of this disease. Food-borne gastroenteritis or food poisoning is associated with bacteria strains such as Escherichia coli, Clostridium, Campylobacter, and salmonella. The ingestion of foods contaminated with chemicals (lead, mercury, arsenic) or the ingestion of poisonous species of mushrooms or plants or contaminated fish or shellfish can also result in gastroenteritis. Symptoms of this disease include fever, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. The treatment is symptomatic, although in cases of bacterial and parasitic infections require antibiotic therapy.

Nursing Care Plans

Hospitalization may be needed for clients who experience severe dehydration as a result of the vomiting and diarrhea. This care plan for Gastroenteritis focuses on the initial management in a non-acute care setting.

Here are four (4) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for Gastroenteritis:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Deficient Knowledge
  3. Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit
  4. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  5. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans


Nursing Diagnosis

  • Diarrhea

May be related to

  • Bacterial, viral or parasitic infections.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Frequency of stools (more than 3x a day).
  • Hyperactive bowel sounds.
  • Loose stools.
  • Urgency.

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will have a negative stool culture.
  • Client will pass soft, formed stool no more than 3 x a day.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Ask the client about a recent history of:


  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Eating food inadequately cooked.
  • Ingestion of unpasteurized dairy products.
Eating contaminated foods or drinking contaminated water may predispose the client to intestinal infection.
Evaluate pattern of defecation.Defecation pattern will promote immediate treatment.
Assess for abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, hyperactive bowel sounds, frequency, urgency, and loose stools.These assessment findings are commonly connected with diarrhea. If gastroenteritis involves the large intestine, the colon is not able to absorb water and the client’s stool is very watery.
Submit client’s stool for culture.A culture is a test to detect which causative organisms cause an infection.
Teach the client about the importance of hand washing after each bowel movement and before preparing food for others.Hands that are contaminated may easily spread the bacteria to utensils and surfaces used in food preparation hence hand washing after each bowel movement is the most efficient way to prevent the transmission of infection to others.
Educate the client about perianal care after each bowel movement.The anal area should be gently clean properly after a bowel movement to prevent skin irritation and transmission of microorganism.
Encourage increase fluid intake of 1.5 to 2.5 liters/24 hour plus 200 ml for each loose stool in adults unless contraindicated.Increased fluid intake replaces fluid lost in liquid stools.
Encourage the client to restrict the intake of caffeine, milk and dairy products.These food items can irritate the lining of the stomach, hence may worsen diarrhea.
Encourage the client to eat foods rich in potassium.When a client experience diarrhea, the stomach contents which is high in potassium get flushed out of the gastrointestinal tract into the stool and out of the body, resulting in hypokalemia.
Administer antidiarrheal medications as prescribed.Bismuth salts, kaolin, and pectin which are adsorbent antidiarrheals are commonly used for treating the diarrhea of gastroenteritis. These drugs coat the intestinal wall and absorb bacterial toxins.


Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

More nursing care plans related to gastrointestinal disorders:


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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