Nursing care plan for bowel obstruction

Nursing care plan for bowel obstruction

Introduction to Nursing Care Plan for Bowel Obstruction

Bowel obstruction is a condition in which there is an inability of the intestines to pass stool or gas through due to a complete or partial blockage. Bowel obstruction can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract and it can be caused by a variety of factors such as hernia, Crohn’s disease, benign/malignant tumors, intussusception, volvulus and enlarged masses. It is a life-threatening condition that may require hospitalization and aggressive interventions. It is important to have an effective nursing care plan in order to manage and treat this condition.


  • Increased abdominal pain: It is one of the main symptoms of bowel obstruction and can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Pain can be abdominal cramping, dull aching or sharp.
  • Nausea or vomiting: It is common for individuals who are suffering from bowel obstruction to present with nausea or vomiting. It could be caused by blockage in the intestine.
  • Loss of appetite: The individual may experience a reduced appetite because of the inability to process food due to the obstruction.
  • Constipation: It is the primary symptom for small bowel obstruction where the individual may not be able to pass stools or may have difficulty passing them.
  • Abdominal distention: Abdominal distention is the swelling of the abdomen caused by the accumulation of fluid and air due to the obstruction in intestines.

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Imbalanced nutrition: Less than body requirements, related to the inability to consume or absorb nutrients due to obstruction of the bowel.
  • Impaired comfort, related to discomfort caused by abdominal pain, distention and constipation.
  • Risk for infection, related to the buildup of toxins in the body resulting from the bolwel obstruction.
  • Delayed growth and development, related to disruption in bowel function.


  • The individual will be able to maintain adequate nutritional status.
  • The patient will be free from infection.
  • Normal bowel functioning will be restored.
  • The patient will demonstrate improved comfort level.
  • The individual will attain their developmental milestones.


  • Administer medications as ordered to maintain adequate nutrition.
  • Observe for changes in the patient’s vital signs.
  • Monitor for any signs of infection.
  • Encourage the patient to consume as much fluids as possible.
  • Provide comfort measures, such as back rubs, warm blankets and hot/cold packs.
  • Instruct the patient about proper toileting techniques.
  • Encourage regular physical activity.
  • Provide a high-fiber diet to promote normal bowel activity.


  • Medication helps to reduce inflammation and pain caused by the obstruction.
  • Vital signs help to monitor the patient’s condition.
  • Infection can worsen the condition, so it is important to monitor for any signs.
  • Fluids help to soften stool and makes it easier to pass.
  • Comfort measures help to reduce the discomfort caused by abdominal pain.
  • Proper toileting techniques can reduce the risk of complications.
  • Physical activity helps to promote normal bowel functioning.
  • Fiber helps to keep the stool soft and prevent constipation.


It is essential to evaluate the patient’s progress throughout the treatment. The patient should be evaluated for any improvement in their condition such as lessened abdominal pain, improved bowel functioning, reduced infection and improved nutrition. A daily assessment should be done till the condition improves.


Bowel obstruction is a life-threatening condition if not treated properly. It is important to develop an effective nursing care plan to help in stabilizing and managing the patient’s condition. It includes assessment, diagnosis, intervention, rationales and evaluation to ensure successful management of the condition.


  • What is bowel obstruction?
    Bowel obstruction is a condition in which the intestines cannot pass stool or gas due to a complete or partial blockage.
  • What are the symptoms of bowel obstruction?
    The main symptoms of bowel obstruction are increased abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and abdominal distention.
  • What are the treatments for bowel obstruction?
    Treatments for bowel obstruction include medications, surgery, fluids and diets, comfort measures, and physical activity.
  • What is the prognosis of bowel obstruction?
    The prognosis of bowel obstruction depends on the cause, but most cases can be resolved with proper medical intervention.
  • How can a nursing care plan help?
    A nursing care plan can help to assess, diagnose, intervene, and evaluate the patient’s condition to ensure optimal management of the condition.

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