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

Risk For Fluid Volume Deficit

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit

May be related to

  • Diarrhea.
  • Inadequate fluid intake.
  • Vomiting.

Possibly evidenced by

  • [not applicable].

Desired Outcomes

  • Client is normovolemic as evidenced by systolic BP 90 mm Hg or greater, absence of orthostasis, HR 60 to 100 beats per minute, urine output greater than 30 ml per hour, and normal skin turgor.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the client’s skin turgor and mucous membranes for signs of dehydration.A loss of interstitial fluid causes the loss of skin turgor. Assessment of the skin turgor in adults is less accurate since their skin normally loses its elasticity. Therefore the skin turgor assessed over the sternum in the forehead is best. Several longitudinal furrows and coating may be noted along the tongue.
Assess the volume and frequency of vomiting.Vomiting is associated with fluid loss.
Assess the consistency and number of bowel movements.Gastroenteritis is associated with an increased frequency of very loose or watery bowel movements. The inflammation in the large intestine limits the colon’s ability to absorb water, leading to fluid volume deficit.
Assess the color and amount of urine.A decrease in urine volume and concentrated urine, as evidenced by a darker urine color, denotes fluid deficit.
Assess the client’s PR and BP.A reduction in circulating blood volume can cause hypotension and tachycardia. The change in HR is a compensatory mechanism to maintain cardiac output. Usually, the pulse is weak and may be irregular if electrolyte imbalance also occurs. Hypotension is evident in hypovolemia.
Assess the client’s temperature.Fever that occurs with gastroenteritis increases fluid loss through perspiration and increased respiration.
Monitor BP for orthostatic changes (changes seen when changing from a supine to a standing position).Postural hypotension is a common manifestation in fluid loss. The incidence increase with age. Note the following orthostatic hypotension significances:


  • Greater than 10 mm Hg: circulating blood volume decreases by 20%.
  • Greater than 20 to 30 mm Hg drop: circulating blood volume is decreased by 40%.
Instruct the client to monitor weight daily and consistently with the same scale, preferably at the same time of the day, and wearing the same amount of clothing.The client with gastroenteritis may experience weight loss from fluid loss with diarrhea and vomiting. Instruction facilitates accurate measurement and assessment provides useful data for comparisons and helps in following trends.
Encourage regular oral hygiene.Fluid deficit can cause a dry, sticky mouth. Attention to mouth care promotes interest in drinking and reduces the discomfort of dry mucous membranes.
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 the liquid stool. Being creative in selecting fluid sources (e.g., flavored gelatin, frozen juice bars, sports drink) can facilitate fluid replacement. Oral hydrating solutions (e.g., Rehydrate) can be considered as needed.
For the client who is unable to take sufficient oral fluids, consider the need for hospitalization and the administration fo parental fluids as ordered.Fluids are needed to maintain hydration status. Determining the type and amount of fluid to be replaced and the infusion rates will vary depending on the client’s clinical status.
Administer antiemetic medications as orderedThese drugs will reduce vomiting and the risk for fluid volume deficit.


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:

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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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