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

Deficient Knowledge

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Lack of recall of previously learning information.
  • New disorder and treatment.
  • Unfamiliarity with information resources.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Asking questions.
  • Lack of information.
  • Lack of questions.
  • Verbalizes misconceptions or inaccurate information.

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will verbalize understanding of causes of gastroenteritis, mode of transmission, and management of symptoms.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess client’s knowledge of gastroenteritis, its mode of transmission, and its treatment.Clients who experience diarrhea and vomiting may not correlate the symptoms with an acquired intestinal infection. The client may not realize the risk for transmitting the infection to others.
Assess the client’s knowledge on safe food preparation and storage.The client may not understand the relationship of gastroenteritis to the consumption of inadequately cooked food, food contaminated with bacteria during preparation, and foods that are not maintained at appropriate temperatures.
Determine the client’s usual methods of managing diarrhea or vomiting.An effective teaching plan will include methods of symptoms management that the client has found helpful in the past.
Teach the client about symptoms that must be reported immediately to the healthcare provider:


  • Black tarry stools.
  • Blood or pus in the feces.
  • Fever greater than 38.3° C (101° F)
  • Increased dizziness, lightheadedness, or thirst.
  • Inability to drink fluids.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea that gets worse or continues for more than five days (3 days for the older adult or immunocompromised client).
The client needs to understand that changes in the stool, high fever, and persistent vomiting and diarrhea may indicate intestinal bleeding and worsening of the infection. Signs of fluid volume deficit and the inability to replace fluids by the oral route may require hospitalization for fluid replacement.
Educate the client and the family about the causes of and treatments for gastroenteritis.Knowledge about the possible cause of this episode of gastroenteritis will help the client initiate to prevent future episodes. The client needs to recognize that the use of antibiotics is controversial in managing diarrhea. The client needs to understand the importance of fluid replacement.
Educate the client about the importance of hand washing after toileting and perianal hygiene and before preparing food for others.Good hand washing will prevent the spread of infectious agents.
Educate the client about food preparation and storage methods to reduce contamination by microorganisms.Ground meats are the most common source of foodborne pathogens. These meats should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F and should have no evidence of pink color. Raw meats should be kept separate from other ready-to-eat foods. All utensils and surfaces that have been in contact with the raw meat need to be washed with hot, soapy water. Raw fruits and vegetables must be washed before eating if they will not be cooked. Only pasteurized milk, fruit juices, and ciders should be consumed. Bacteria contamination or growth is more likely to occur in foods that are not maintained at appropriate temperatures until eaten.


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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