nursing interventions constipation
1. NURSING PROCESS STEP: Assessment
a. History of laxative abuse or other medications that cause constipation (e.g., antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate)
b. Assess for the presence of abdominal pain, distention, peritonitis, rectal bleeding, fever, and other signs of infection.
2. CLIENT NEEDS CATEGORY: Physiological integrity
- The physiological integrity category includes interventions that prevent or reduce the risk of harm to clients, such as those related to reduction of risk potential.
- For example, an intervention in this subcategory might be giving a client with incontinence a prescription for medication to improve bladder control.
3. CLIENT NEEDS SUBCATEGORY: Reduction of risk potential
Assess for a history of laxative abuse or other medications that cause constipation (e.g., antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate).
4. CLIENT NEEDS SUBCATEGORY: Management of care
- Check for dehydration.
- Check for abdominal distention.
- Check for abdominal pain.
- Check for nausea and vomiting; if present, check type and frequency (i.e., acute vs chronic).
- Check rectal bleeding; if present, check color of blood (black stools can be caused by intestinal bleeding). Additionally, check for perianal pain and swelling in case of internal hemorrhoids as well as blood in the stool (red or black colored stool).
5. COGNITIVE LEVEL: Analysis
- Step 1: Analyze the client’s condition.
- Step 2: Analyze the client’s history.
- Step 3: Analyze the client’s diet.
- Step 4: Analyze the client’s fluid intake.
- Step 5: Analyze the client’s physical activity level and constipation-related triggers (e.g., stress, hormonal fluctuations).
6. PERFORMANCE CRITERIA (P.C.): Assess the client’s frequency, character, and consistency of bowel action.
- Frequency of bowel action. As soon as the client is awake, assess the frequency of bowel action. Record results and compare with baseline.
- Character of bowel action. Record the character and consistency of your client’s stools (soft, hard, dry). Compare this to baseline data if possible; mild constipation can be normal for some clients after surgery or illness but could be a sign that further intervention is needed if it persists longer than expected.
- Consistency of bowel action: The consistency of your client’s stools should be soft without being watery or mushy; if they are too firm or too loose, this may indicate an underlying problem that requires further assessment by a healthcare provider such as yourself – see above section on PCCFs for more information on assessing whether there may be other issues behind this symptom
7. 8Assess the client’s diet, fluid intake, and physical activity.
- Fluid intake
- Physical activity
Examples of foods that are constipating:
Examples of foods that are not constipating:
Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy greens; carrots; cucumbers; celery sticks; summer squash (such as zucchini); tomatoes (fresh and canned); eggplant (aubergine), sweet peppers and apples.
8. Determine if there are any constipation-related triggers.
- Determine if there are any constipation-related triggers.
There are many potential triggers for constipation, including diet and medications. You should ask the client about the following:
- Eating habits—Is your client eating a high-fiber diet? Are they getting enough fluids? What kinds of foods do they eat?
- Medications—Are there any that may be causing or worsening the situation? Do you think it would be helpful to discontinue certain medications temporarily so that we can see how things go without them? Are there others that could help with this issue (such as over-the-counter laxatives)? Would your client be more comfortable taking these at home rather than in the hospital setting?
- Physical activity level—Has their physical activity level decreased recently due to health issues or other factors such as feeling weak or unable to get out of bed easily due to pain from surgery/trauma injury etc.? How long has this been going on and how much exercise did they normally do before becoming ill/injured vs now…is this significantly different from what it was before because now I’m having difficulty even walking very far without feeling exhausted.”
9. Assess for a history of laxative abuse or other medications that cause constipation (e.g., antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate).
- Assess for a history of laxative abuse or other medications that cause constipation (e.g., antacids containing aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate).
- Assess the client’s frequency, character, and consistency of bowel action.
- Determine if there are any constipation-related triggers (i.e., lack of fluids).
- Assess for a history of laxative abuse or other medications that cause constipation.