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

Adult Failure to Thrive

Nursing Diagnosis

The following are the common related factors for Adult Failure to Thrive nursing diagnosis:

  • Loss of independence, loss of functional ability, cognitive impairment, impaired immune function, malnutrition, depression, and the impact of a chronic disease

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:

  • Inadequate nutritional intake-eating less than the requirements
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty in performing self-care activities

Desired Outcomes

The commonly used expected outcomes or patient goals for Adult Failure to Thrive nursing diagnosis:

  • The patient will exhibit or verbalizes improvement in at least one of the following: increased functional ability, sense of hopefulness, weight gain, increased appetite, peaceful death.

Nursing Interventions and Rationale

The following are sample nursing interventions and rationale (or scientific explanation) for Adult Failure to Thrive that you can use for your nursing care plan for the elderly (geriatric nursing):

Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Conduct a comprehensive physical assessment. Evaluate the condition of chronic disease.A thorough system assessment provides a baseline for succeeding comparison.
Examine laboratory and other studies such as CBC with differential, albumin, pre-albumin levels, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and basic metabolic panel (BMP).A study of laboratory information determines nutrients and electrolytes imbalances important for basic body function, protein status and thyroid function, and presence/absence of infection.
Gather essential information about the patient’s history; involve the caregiver as needed. Assess critical factors such as the death of a spouse or family member.Taking a patient’s history that concentrates on the timing of the change in behaviors and appetite, medications, and a reduction in activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) will help determine contributing factors to the drop in function. Examples of these factors include depression, dementia, pain and decreased sense of taste or smell.
Therapeutic Interventions
Allow the patient to vent feelings of fear, anger, despair, frustration, and concerns about hospitalization and health.Supporting the patient and acknowledging that these feelings are normal often help lessen feelings of despair.
Explain age-related changes to the patient and significant others.When an individual normally ages, their physiologic reserve declines and affects multiple systems. Failure to thrive can occur from the interaction of three components: physical frailty, disability or decline in functional ability, and impaired neuropsychiatric function.


  • Frailty is defined by a state of increased vulnerability caused by a diminished physiologic reserve affecting multiple systems.
  • Disability is defined as difficulty or decrease in performing ADLs.
  • Neuropsychiatric impairment is a complex phenomenon that can occur from life circumstances leading to depression, physiologic disruption leading to delirium, or neurologic changes resulting in cognitive impairment.
Collaborate with other health care provider as needed.
  • Speech therapists and dieticians
They can help address issues such as swallowing or inadequate food and fluid intake.
  • Physical and occupational therapist
They can help assess physical strengths/limitations and the potential for improvement with a program or assistive tools.
  • Social Services
They can help assess support networks and readiness for end-of-life possibility.

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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