11 Geriatric Nursing Care Plans (Older Adult)


In this nursing care plan guide are 11 nursing diagnosis for the care of the elderly (older adult) or geriatric nursing or also known as gerontological nursing. Learn about the assessment, care plan goals, and nursing interventions for gerontology nursing in this post.

Gerontology nursing or geriatric nursing specializes in the care of older or elderly adults. Geriatric nursing addresses the physiological, developmental, psychological, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual needs of an aging individual.

Since aging is a normal and fundamental part of life. Providing nursing care for elderly clients should not only be isolated to one field but is best given through a collaborative effort which includes their family, community, and other health care team. Through this, nurses may be able to use the expertise and resources of each team to improve and maintain the quality of life of the elderly.

Geriatric nursing care planning centers on the aging process, promotion, restoration, and optimization of health and functions; increased safety; prevention of illness and injury; facilitation of healing.

Nursing Care Plans

Here are 11 nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for geriatric nursing or nursing care of the elderly (older adult):

  1. Risk for Falls
  2. Impaired Gas Exchange
  3. Hypothermia
  4. Disturbed Sleep Pattern
  5. Constipation
  6. Adult Failure to Thrive
  7. Risk for Aspiration
  8. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume
  9. Risk for Injury
  10. Risk for Infection
  11. Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity

Impaired Gas Exchange

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Impaired Gas Exchange

The following are the common related factors for the Impaired Gas Exchange nursing diagnosis:

  • Reduced oxygenation with decreased functional lung tissue

Defining Characteristics

The following are the common subjective and objective data or nursing assessment cues (signs and symptoms) that could serve as your “as evidenced by” for this care plan:

  • Dyspnea
  • Irritability; restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Tachycardia
  • Decreased mental acuity
  • Abnormal ABGs

Desired Outcomes

Below are the commonly used expected outcomes or patient goals for Impaired Gas Exchange nursing diagnosis:

  • Patient’s respiratory pattern and mental status will be normal for the client.
  • Patient’s pulse oximetry or arterial blood gas results will be within the patient’s normal limits.

Nursing Interventions and Rationale

In this section are the nursing interventions and rationale (or scientific explanation) for the nursing diagnosis Impaired Gas Exchange for Geriatric Nursing Care Plans or Gerontological Nursing Care Plans.

Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Monitor and record the following during admission and routinely thereafter: respiratory rate, depth, and pattern; breath sounds, cough, sputum, and mental status.Provides baseline data for subsequent assessments of the patient’s respiratory system.
Assess subtle changes in patient’s behavior or mental status e.g., anxiety, disorientation, hostility, and restlessness. Check oxygen levels using pulse oximetry (higher than 92%) or reviewing ABG values (optimally Pao2 80%-95% or higher).These changes in the sensorium can indicate decreasing oxygen levels. To comprehensively monitor pulse oximetry, the hemoglobin (Hgb) must be determined. Patients with low hemoglobin levels can have a higher pulse oximetry level and still exhibit acute confusion or restlessness. This happens as a result of diminished hemoglobin to deliver oxygen through the body.
Auscultate the lungs for adventitious sounds.When people get older, lungs elasticity decreases. The lower portion of the lung is not sufficiently aerated resulting in the occurrence of crackles (usually heard in individuals 75 years of age and above). This sign alone does not imply the presence of a disease condition. Crackles (rales) that do not clear with coughing in an individual with no additional symptoms such as increased temperature, increasing anxiety, changes in sensorium, increasing respiratory depth are considered benign.
Therapeutic Interventions
Encourage breathing and coughing exercises. Instruct patient in use of incentive spirometry if applicable.These measures provide alveolar expansion and remove the secretions from the bronchial tree, resulting to optimal gas exchange.
Encourage increased fluid intake (greater than 2.5 liters daily) unless contraindicated by a renal or cardiac condition.Adequate hydration promotes mobilization of secretions.
Treat hyperthermia immediately, reduce pain, lessen pacing activity, and decrease anxiety.These measures decrease the demand for increased oxygen consumption.
Teach the patient in the use of support devices such as nasal cannulas or oxygen masks.Knowledge about these equipment promotes adherence to the treatment.

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 care plans related to basic nursing concepts:

  1. Cancer (Oncology Nursing) | 13 Care Plans
  2. End-of-Life Care (Hospice Care or Palliative) | 4 Care Plans
  3. Geriatric Nursing (Older Adult) | 11 Care Plans
  4. Prolonged Bed Rest | 8 Care Plans
  5. Surgery (Perioperative Client) | 13 Care Plans
  6. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus | 4 Care Plans
  7. Total Parenteral Nutrition | 4 Care Plans

References and Sources

Here are the references and sources for this Geriatric Nursing Care Plan:

  • Boltz, M., Capezuti, E., Fulmer, T. T., & Zwicker, D. (Eds.). (2016). Evidence-based geriatric nursing protocols for best practice. Springer Publishing Company.[Link]
  • Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2009). Nursing care plans & documentation: nursing diagnoses and collaborative problems. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [Link]
  • Gilje, F., Lacey, L., & Moore, C. (2007). Gerontology and geriatric issues and trends in US nursing programs: a national survey. Journal of Professional Nursing23(1), 21-29. [Link]
  • Mauk, K. L. (Ed.). (2010). Gerontological nursing: Competencies for care. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. [Link]
  • Wold, G. H. (2013). Basic Geriatric Nursing-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Link]

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.
  • I’m an LPN for 30 years of med surg, rehab, surg, geriatric care, addiction, and psych care. I love my career of caring for people. I want to join a team that wants to continue to improve nurse care. Please keep me a part of your network. I also like to be called Penny.

  • It is very useful lesson for improving geriatric patient health care provision.
    I like it to have more.
    Or the whole course, if possible.

  • I utilize your web page/info on all of my care plans, thank you
    I am an LVN Case Manager for mostly geriatric and disabled members in managed care.

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