Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Nursing Care Plans

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or simply GERD is the excessive backflow of gastric or duodenal contents, or both into the esophagus and past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) for a sustained length of time without associated belching or vomiting.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning goals of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) involves teaching the patient to avoid situations that decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure or cause esophageal irritation.

The following are seven (7) nursing care plans for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):

  1. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  2. Acute Pain
  3. Imbalanced Nutrition: More Than Body Requirements
  4. Risk for Aspiration
  5. Deficient Knowledge
  6. NEW: Anxiety (Pediatric)
  7. NEW: Risk for Injury (Pediatric)
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Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements


Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements: The state in which an individual who is not on NPO, experiences or is at risk for inadequate intake or metabolism of nutrients for metabolic needs with or without weight loss.

May be related to

  • inability to intake enough food because of reflux
  • increased metabolism caused by disease process
  • early satiety
  • heartburn

Possibly evidenced by

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  • inadequate food intake
  • altered taste
  • weight loss
  • decreased peristalsis
  • muscle mass loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain or discomfort
  • intolerance of fatty foods
  • epigastric pain after eating
  • heartburn
  • regurgitation
  • dysphagia

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will ingest daily nutritional requirements in accordance to his activity level and metabolic needs.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Accurately measure the patient’s weight and height.For baseline data.
Obtain a nutritional history.Determining the feeding habits of the client can provide a basis for establishing a nutritional plan.
Encourage small frequent meals of high calories and high protein foods.Small and frequent meals are easier to digest.
Instruct to remain in upright position at least 2 hours after meals; avoiding eating 3 hours before bedtime.Helps control reflux and causes less irritation from reflux action into esophagus.
Instruct patient to eat slowly and masticate foods well.Helps prevent reflux.
Prepare the patient for the following diagnostic procedures:
Complete blood countTo identify the presence of anemia that must be ruled out
Cardiac enzymesTo rule out myocardial pain related to the atypical pain felt with GERD
Serum ironTo identify presence of iron-deficiency anemia
Gastrin levelsTo identify toxicity of proton pump inhibitors or to diagnose Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Gastric acid secretory analysisTo determine if failure with pharmacologic agents is caused by inadequate suppression of gastric acid secretion, which may signify bile reflux or pill-induced disease
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopyUsed to identify the type and extent of tissue damage.
Barium swallowCan be used to identify structures and Hiatal hernias
Esophageal pH monitoringUsed to document pathologic acid reflux, especially for patients who have atypical symptoms.
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See Also


You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Gastrointestinal Care Plans


Care plans covering the disorders of the gastrointestinal and digestive system:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

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  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans

Updated as of August 2018. 

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