5 Seizure Disorder Nursing Care Plans


In this guide are five nursing diagnosis for seizures nursing care plans including their nursing interventions and nursing assessment. Learn about the goals, related factors of nursing diagnosis, and rationale for each nursing intervention for seizure.

What are seizures? 

Seizures are physical findings or changes in behavior caused by uncontrolled electrical firing or discharges from the nerve cells of the cerebral cortex and are characterized by sudden, brief attacks of altered consciousness, motor activity, and sensory phenomena. The term “seizure” is often used interchangeably with “convulsion.”

Seizures can be caused by head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, maldevelopment of the brain, genetic and infectious illnesses, and fevers. Sensory symptoms arise from the parietal lobe; motor symptoms arise from the frontal lobe.

Nursing Care Plans

The nursing care plan goals for patients with seizure disorders include ensuring safety during and after seizures, preventing injury, and minimizing the frequency and severity of seizures through appropriate medication management and patient education. The plan should also include regular monitoring of seizure activity and side effects of medication, as well as addressing any psychological or social impacts of the disorder.

Here are five (5) nursing diagnosis for seizure nursing care plans: 

  1. Risk for Trauma or Suffocation
  2. Risk for Ineffective Airway Clearance
  3. Situational Low Self-Esteem
  4. Deficient Knowledge
  5. Noncompliance

Risk for Trauma or Suffocation

Patients with seizure disorders are at risk for trauma or suffocation due to the loss of muscle control during seizures, which can lead to falls, head injuries, and difficulty breathing. Additionally, seizures can occur during sleep, putting the patient at risk of suffocation from airway obstruction or aspiration.

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Risk for Trauma

Risk Factors

  • Weakness, balancing difficulties; reduced muscle, hand or eye coordination
  • Poor vision
  • Reduced sensation
  • Cognitive limitations or altered consciousness
  • Loss of large or small muscle coordination
  • Emotional difficulties

Possibly evidenced by

  • Not applicable. A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms, as the problem has not occurred and nursing interventions are directed at prevention.

Desired Outcomes

  • The patient will verbalize understanding of factors that contribute to the possibility of trauma and or suffocation and take steps to correct the situation.
  • The patient will identify actions or measures to take when seizure activity occurs.
  • The patient will identify and correct potential risk factors in the environment.
  • The patient will demonstrate behaviors, and lifestyle changes to reduce risk factors and protect self from injury.
  • The patient will modify the environment as indicated to enhance safety.
  • The patient will maintain a treatment regimen to control or eliminate seizure activity.
  • The patient will recognize the need for assistance to prevent accidents or injuries.

Nursing Assessment and Rationales

1. Determine factors related to the individual situation, as listed in Risk Factors, and the extent of risk.
Influences the scope and intensity of interventions to manage the threat to safety.

2. Note the client’s age, gender, developmental age, decision-making ability, and level of cognition or competence.
It affects the client’s ability to protect self and others and influences the choice of interventions and teaching.

3. Ascertain knowledge of various stimuli that may precipitate seizure activity.
Alcohol, various drugs, and other stimuli (loss of sleep, flashing lights, prolonged television viewing) may increase brain activity, thereby increasing the potential for seizure activity.

4. Review diagnostic studies or laboratory tests for impairments and imbalances.
Such may result in or exacerbate conditions, such as confusion, tetany, pathological fractures, etc.

5. Explore and expound seizure warning signs (if appropriate) and the usual seizure patterns. Teach SO to determine and familiarize warning signs and how to care for the patient during and after a seizure attack.
Enables patient to protect self from injury and recognize changes that require notification of physician and further intervention. Knowing what to do when a seizure occurs can prevent injury or complications and decreases SO’s feelings of helplessness.

6. Note pre-seizure activity, presence of aura or unusual behavior, type of seizure activity (location or duration of motor activity, and frequency or recurrence. Note whether the patient fell, expressed vocalizations, drooled, or had automatisms (lip-smacking, chewing, picking at clothes).
Helps localize the cerebral area of involvement.

7. Provide neurological or vital sign check after seizure (level of consciousness, orientation, ability to comply with simple commands, ability to speak; the memory of incident; weakness or motor deficits; blood pressure (BP), pulse, and respiratory rate).
Documents postictal state and time or completeness of recovery to a normal state. May identify additional safety concerns to be addressed.

8. Investigate reports of pain.
May be a result of repetitive muscle contractions or symptoms of injury incurred, requiring further evaluation or intervention.

9. Detect status epilepticus (one tonic-clonic seizure after another in rapid succession).
This is a life-threatening emergency that if left untreated could cause metabolic acidosis, hyperthermia, hypoglycemia, arrhythmias, hypoxia, increased intracranial pressure, airway obstruction, and respiratory arrest. Immediate intervention is required to control seizure activity and prevent permanent injury or death. Note: Although absence seizures may become static, they are not usually life-threatening.

10. Monitor and document AED drug levels, corresponding side effects, and frequency of seizure activity.
A standard therapeutic level may not be optimal for an individual patient if untoward side effects develop or seizures are not controlled.

11. Monitor CBC, electrolytes, and glucose levels.
Identifies factors that aggravate or decrease the seizure threshold.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

1. Use and pad side rails with the bed in the lowest position, or place the bed up against the wall and pad floor if rails are not available or appropriate.
Prevents or minimizes injury when seizures (frequent or generalized) occur while the patient is in bed. Note: Most individuals seize in place and if, in the middle of the bed, the individual is unlikely to fall out of bed.

2. Educate the patient not to smoke except while supervised.
May cause burns if the cigarette is accidentally dropped during aura or seizure activity.

3. Evaluate the need for or provide protective headgear.
The use of a helmet may provide added protection for individuals who suffer recurrent or severe seizures.

4. Avoid using thermometers that can cause breakage. Use a tympanic thermometer when necessary to take the temperature.
Reduces risk of patient biting and breaking glass thermometer or suffering injury if sudden seizure activity should occur.

5. Uphold strict bedrest if prodromal signs or aura are experienced. Explain the necessity for these actions.
Patients may feel restless or need to ambulate or even defecate during an aural phase, thereby inadvertently removing self from a safe environment and easy observation. Understanding the importance of providing for own safety needs may enhance patient cooperation.

6. Do not leave the patient during and after a seizure.
Promotes safety measures.

7. Turn the head to the side and suction the airway as indicated. Insert plastic bite block only if jaw relaxed.
Helps maintain airway patency and reduces the risk of oral trauma but should not be “forced” or inserted when teeth are clenched because dental and soft-tissue damage may result. Note: Wooden tongue blades should not be used because they may splinter and break in the patient’s mouth.

8. Support head, place on a soft area, or assist to the floor if out of bed. Do not attempt to restrain.
Supporting the extremities lessens the risk of physical injury when the patient lacks voluntary muscle control. Note: If the attempt is made to restrain the patient during a seizure, erratic movements may increase, and the patient may injure self or others.

9. Reorient the patient following seizure activity.
The patient may be confused, disoriented, and possibly amnesic after the seizure and need help to regain control and alleviate anxiety.

10. Allow postictal “automatic” behavior without interfering while providing environmental protection.
May display behavior (of a motor or psychic origin) that seems inappropriate or irrelevant for time and place. Attempts to control or prevent activity may result in the patient becoming aggressive or combative.

11. Carry out medications as indicated:
Specific drug therapy depends on seizure type, with some patients requiring polytherapy or frequent medication adjustments.

  • 11.1. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs): phenytoin (Dilantin), primidone (Mysoline), carbamazepine (Tegretol), clonazepam (Klonopin), valproic acid (Depakene), Divalproex (Depakote), acetazolamide (Diamox), ethotoin (Peganone), methsuximide (Celotin), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx)
    AEDs raise the seizure threshold by stabilizing nerve cell membranes, reducing the excitability of the neurons, or through direct action on the limbic system, thalamus, and hypothalamus. The goal is optimal suppression of seizure activity with the lowest possible dose of a drug and with fewest side effects. Cerebyx reaches therapeutic levels within 24 hr and can be used for nonemergent loading while waiting for other agents to become effective. Note: Some patients require polytherapy or frequent medication adjustments to control seizure activity. This increases the risk of adverse reactions and problems with adherence.
  • 11.2. Topiramate (Topamax), ethosuximide (Zarontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), gabapentin (Neurontin)
    Adjunctive therapy for partial seizures or an alternative for patients when seizures are not adequately controlled by other drugs.
  • 11.3. Phenobarbital (Luminal)
    Potentiates and enhances the effects of AEDs and allows for the lower dosage to reduce side effects.
  • 11.4. Lorazepam (Ativan)
    Used to abort status seizure activity because it is shorter acting than Valium and less likely to prolong post-seizure sedation.
  • 11.5. Diazepam (Valium, Diastat rectal gel)
    May be used alone (or in combination with phenobarbital) to suppress status seizure activity. Diastat, a gel, may be administered rectally, even in the home setting, to reduce the frequency of seizures and need for additional medical care.
  • 11.6. Glucose, thiamine
    May be given to restore metabolic balance if a seizure is induced by hypoglycemia or alcohol.

12. Prepare for surgery or electrode implantation as indicated.
A vagal nerve stimulator, magnetic beam therapy, or other surgical intervention (temporal lobectomy) may be done for intractable seizures or well-localized epileptogenic lesions when the patient is disabled and at high risk for serious injury. Success has been reported with gamma-ray radiosurgery for the treatment of multiple seizure activities that have otherwise been difficult to control.


Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy.

Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of its evidence-based approach to nursing interventions. This care plan handbook uses an easy, three-step system to guide you through client assessment, nursing diagnosis, and care planning. Includes step-by-step instructions showing how to implement care and evaluate outcomes, and help you build skills in diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking.

Nursing Care Plans – Nursing Diagnosis & Intervention (10th Edition)
Includes over two hundred care plans that reflect the most recent evidence-based guidelines. New to this edition are ICNP diagnoses, care plans on LGBTQ health issues and on electrolytes and acid-base balance.

NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
The definitive guide to nursing diagnoses is reviewed and approved by the NANDA International. In this new version of a pioneering text, all introductory chapters have been rewritten to provide nurses with the essential information they need to comprehend assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the purpose and application of taxonomic organization at the bedside. A total of 46 new nursing diagnoses and 67 amended nursing diagnostics are presented.

Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions, and Rationales
Quick-reference tool includes all you need to identify the correct diagnoses for efficient patient care planning. The sixteenth edition includes the most recent nursing diagnoses and interventions from NANDA-I 2021-2023 and an alphabetized listing of nursing diagnoses covering more than 400 disorders.

Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care 
Identify interventions to plan, individualize, and document care for more than 800 diseases and disorders. Only in the Nursing Diagnosis Manual will you find for each diagnosis…. subjectively and objectively – sample clinical applications, prioritized action/interventions with rationales – a documentation section, and much more!

All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource – E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health 
Includes over 100 care plans for medical-surgical, maternity/OB, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health. Interprofessional “patient problems” focus familiarizes you with how to speak to patients.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other nursing care plans related to neurological disorders:


Matt Vera, a registered nurse since 2009, leverages his experiences as a former student struggling with complex nursing topics to help aspiring nurses as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs, simplifying the learning process, breaking down complicated subjects, and finding innovative ways to assist students in reaching their full potential as future healthcare providers.

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