11 Geriatric Nursing Care Plans (Older Adult)

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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):

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  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
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Hypothermia

Nursing Diagnosis

The following are the common related factors for the Hypothermia nursing diagnosis for geriatric nursing or gerontological nursing:

  • Age-related changes in thermoregulation and environmental exposure

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:

  • Reduction in body temperature below the normal range
  • Shivering
  • Cool skin
  • Pallor
  • Tachycardia

Desired Outcomes

Below are the commonly used expected outcomes or patient goals for Hypothermia nursing diagnosis for geriatric nursing or gerontological nursing:

  • The patient’s temperature and mental status will remain within the patient’s normal limits, or they return to the patient’s normal limits at a rate of 1°F/hr, after interventions.

Nursing Interventions and Rationale

In this section are the nursing interventions and rationale (or scientific explanation) for the nursing diagnosis Hypothermia for the nursing care plan for the elderly (geriatric nursing):

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Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Monitor temperature through the use of a low-range thermometer if available.This assessment will indicate the presence of hypothermia. The normal temperature of an older adult is 35.5°C (96°F).
Monitor oral temperature by placing the tip of the thermometer far back in the patient’s mouth.Oral temperature provides the most accurate reading of a patient’s core temperature.
Note: For an older adult, refrain from taking an axillary temperature. If unable to measure the temperature orally, measure temporal or tympanic temperature but note that improper use of these thermometers can produce inaccurate results.Elderly persons have poor peripheral circulation and decrease subcutaneous fat in the axillary area contributing to the formation of pocket airs that may make assessment inaccurate.
Assess and record the mental status of the patient.Increasing disorientation, altered sensorium, or atypical behavior may indicate hypothermia.
Therapeutic Interventions
Watch out with the use of sedatives, muscle relaxants, and hypnotics (including anesthetics).These pharmacologic therapies can decrease shivering, hence put patients at risk for environmental hypothermia. Furthermore, elderly people are at risk for environmental hypothermia at ambient temperatures of 22.22°-23.89°C (72°-75° F)
Make sure to give blankets to patients undergoing testing or x-ray examination.This measure will keep the patient warm thus it will help avoid hypothermia.
Initiate slow rewarming if the patient is mildly hypothermic.Increasing the room temperature to at least 23.89°C (77.5°F) is one method to reverse mild hypothermia. Additional measures include the use of warm blankets, head covers, and warm circulating air blankets.
Warm the patient internally by providing warm oral or IV fluids if the patient’s temperature drops below 35°C (95°F).This method is done to reverse moderate to severe hypothermia. Other methods include warmed saline gastric or rectal irrigations or introduction of warmed humidified air into the airway.
Watch out for signs of excessive rapid rewarming.Irregular HR, dysrhythmias, and very warm extremities caused by vasodilation in the periphery, which causes heat loss from the core are some of the signs of excessive rapid rewarming.
Once the patient’s temperature fails to increase by 1°F/hr using these methods, anticipate laboratory request for WBC count for possible sepsis, glucose level for hypoglycemia, and thyroid test for hypothyroidism.Causes aside from environmental factors may be responsible for the hypothermia.
Administer antibiotics as prescribed for sepsis, glucose for hypoglycemia, or thyroid therapy.Treating the underlying condition will help the patient’s temperature to return to normal.
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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:

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  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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