9 Parkinson’s Disease Nursing Care Plans


Parkinson’s disease, or paralysis agitans,is a progressing neurologic movement disorder that eventually leads to disability. It occurs after the age of 50 and increases in incidence with age. The disease affects more men than women and it’s the fourth most common neurodegenerative disease, with 50,000 new cases reported each year in the United States.

Parkinson’s disease is associated with decreased levels of dopamine resulting from destruction of pigmented neuronal cells in the substantia nigra in the basal ganglia region of the brain. Neuronal pathways project from the substantia nigra to the corpus striatum, where neurotransmitters are key to the control of complex body movements. The loss of dopamine stores in areas of the brain results in more excitatory neurotransmitters than inhibitory neurotransmitters, leading to an imbalance that affects voluntary movement.

Nursing Care Plans

The nursing goals for patients with Parkinson’s Disease include improving functional mobility, maintaining independence in performing ADLs, achieving optimal bowel elimination, attaining and maintaining acceptable nutritional status, achieving effective communication, and developing positive coping mechanisms.

Here are nine (9) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for Parkinson’s Disease:

  1. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  2. Disturbed Thought Process
  3. Impaired Verbal Communication
  4. Impaired Physical Mobility
  5. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements
  6. Impaired Swallowing
  7. Risk for Injury
  8. Ineffective Coping
  9. Deficient Knowledge
  10. Other Nursing Care Plans

Impaired Swallowing

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • neuromuscular impairment
  • dysphagia

Possibly evidenced by

  • inability to swallow effectively
  • choking
  • aspiration
  • food remaining in the oral cavity
  • slow eating
  • difficulty swallowing
  • chewing
  • stiff
  • masklike face
  • choking, drooling
  • weight loss
  • facial rigidity
  • muscle rigidity
  • tremors
  • aspiration

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will be able to swallow effectively with no incidence of aspiration.
  • Patient will be able to eat and swallow normally.
  • Patient will be able to ingest an adequate amount of nutrients without the dangers of aspiration.
  • Patient will be able to follow instructions and strengthen muscles used for eating and swallowing.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Evaluate the patient’s ability to swallow, extent of paralysis, and ability to maintain airway.Swallowing difficulties and choking are common in PD, evaluation provides baseline information from which to plan interventions for care.
Maintain head position and support, with head of bed elevated at least 30 degrees or more during immediately after feeding.Helps to prevent aspiration; facilitates ability to swallow.
Instruct patient to chew sugarless chewing gum or suck on hard candy.To keep his mouth moist and easy dryness of the mouth, a side effect of medications for PD.
Place food in the unaffected side of patient’s mouth.Allows for sensory stimulation and taste, and may assist to trigger swallowing reflexes.
Provide foods that are soft and require little chewing; provide thickened liquids if possible. Avoid thin liquids.These types of foods are easier to control and decrease potential for choking or aspiration.
Administer tube feedings or enteral alimentation as warranted/ordered.May be required if oral intake is not sufficient.
Instruct patient and/or family to use straw for drinking liquids.Helps strengthen facial oral muscles to decrease the potential for choking.
Teach patient to place food in tongue, close the lips and teeth, lift the tongue up and then back, and swallow. Encourage the patient to chew first on one side of the mouth and then on the other.Proper technique to prevent aspiration.
Instruct patient to make conscious effort to swallow.To control the buildup of saliva.
Massage the facial and neck muscles before meals.Can help during meal time.

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:

Other nursing care plans related to neurological disorders:

Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
  • This website has helped me so much with nursing interventions and now is helping me come up with interventions and understanding why because of the rationale

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