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Constipation Relief: Crafting a Nursing Care Plan That Works

Constipation Relief: Crafting a Nursing Care Plan That Works

Constipation refers to the reduction in the frequency of normal bowel movements. It’s often associated with a slow or insufficient movement of stool as well as stool that is usually very dry and hard. Constipation is quite common and is among the most frequent digestive issues. Anyone can experience it, but those who suffer from constipation are susceptible to constipation:

  • Seniors: Typically, they tend to be less energetic, possess a slower metabolism, and have less muscle strength throughout the digestive tract.
  • For women (particularly women who are pregnant or just after the birth of a child), hormonal changes can trigger constipation. For pregnant women, the baby usually presses the intestines, resulting in a slowing of the passage of dry stool.
  • Patients with a neurological disorder.

Here are some common nursing care plans for patients with constipation below.

Nursing Care Plan for Patients with Constipation

Nursing care plan for patient with constipation, help prioritize interventions and assessments for both the short and long-term objectives of care. In the next section, we will provide nursing plan examples of constipation.

Care Plan #1

Diagnostic Statement:

Constipation caused by opioid analgesics, as demonstrated by the inability to move the bowel following surgery.

Expected Outcomes:

  • The patient will have soft, formed stool each 1 to 3 days without tension.
  • The patient will take measures to ease constipation caused by opioids.


  • Examine the History of Your Medication

Constipation due to opioids is seen in around 60% of those with no cancer taking opioids to provide pain relief. Be sure to note if the patient is taking the medication as per the prescribed dosage in healthcare facilities.

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  • Examine the Typical Pattern for Defecation for the Patient

The frequency of defecation can vary from twice a day to once every 3-4 days. However, dry, hard stool is a sign of constipation. The practical nurse could use Rome Criteria IV in evaluating functional constipation. Patients are constipated if they meet one or more of these conditions for the past three months:

  • At a minimum, 25% of the stool movements
  • At least 25% of regular bowel movements
  • The feeling of insufficient evacuation is reported in at the very least 25 percent of defecations.
  • <3 bowel movements per week
  • Manual measures are employed to aid in the removal or movement of loose stools from the rectum.

Licensed practical nursing schools or community colleges educate nurses or healthcare teams to identify and manage these symptoms of constipation in a way that promotes patient well-being through their critical thinking skills.


  • Use Laxatives According to the Directions

Patients prescribed opioids must be treated with laxatives, with the exception of bulk-forming

types as a prophylactic treatment for chronic constipation.

  • Encourage Early Physical Movement

In addition to preventing constipation, the ability to move around quickly after surgery lowers the risk of postoperative complications in healthcare settings. It also speeds the healing process inc, increases ambulation capacity, and decreases the length of hospital stay.

  • Inform the Patient and Their Family Members About the Use of Opioid Painkillers

Constipation is a typical adverse effect of opioids. Make sure the patient is aware that this issue is solvable with the use of a stimulant (senna/bisacodyl), stool softener (docusate), or an Osmotic Laxative (polyethylene glycol) that is accompanied by physical movement following surgery.

  • Remind Them to Stay Away From Excessive Use of Laxatives for Long Periods

Long-term usage of stimulant laxatives may lead to dependence on defecation.

Care Plan #2

Diagnostic Statement:

Constipation that is caused by immobility such as bloating or abdominal pain.

Expected Outcomes:

  • The patient will go through Bristol Stools Type 3. (sausage-shaped that has cracks along the edges) as well as Type 4 (sausage-shaped but smooth and soft).
  • Patients will feel some relief from discomfort caused by constipation, as demonstrated in the absence following signs:
    • Bloating
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Abdominal distension
    • Anorexia
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting


  • Examine the typical routine of defecation

 This includes times of day, stool quantity regularity, frequency, as well as a history of laxative usage and diet, exercise routines, and the amount of fluid consumed.

Each person is unique and has a “normal” stool pattern. An in-depth assessment of normal constipation patterns will serve as an initial basis for evaluating any planned nursing interventions.

  • Check the level of mobility

The extent of a patient’s ability to move could assist in determining the best exercise detailed nursing care plan or physical exercise at nursing homes or clinical sites.


  • Provide a recommended intake of between 18 and 25 grams every day and recommend foods that are high in fiber supplements (e.g., the juice of a prune and leafy green vegetables, wholemeal bread, or pasta).

Fiber is a bulky stool that expands the bowel wall to encourage peristalsis, speeding up the process of bowel movement.

  • Recommend a fluid intake of 1.5 to 2 liters daily (ideally 6-8 glasses of drinking water) in the absence of complications such as heart or kidney disease.

The gut is flooded with water to help create an easier fecal mass. It also helps to avoid gut obstruction.

  • Encourage physical activity in the current capacity of the client’s ability to move

Encourage turning and changing positions when you are in bed. Encourage knee-to-chest lifts or waist twists as well as arms that are extended away from the body for those who have limited mobility. Physical exercises can trigger colon peristaltic wave activity and promote the flow of feces from the rectum.

  • Perform a gentle abdominal massage with aromatherapy oils in the direction of colon activity

Abdominal massage increases the rectal load by increasing the pressure in the abdomen. In some instances, it could trigger rectal waves, triggering the somatic-autonomic reflex and increasing the sensation of the bowel.

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  • Do enemas or decompaction

You may want to consider enemas if natural remedies aren’t working. Enemas aid in cleansing the bowel and stimulating emptying. However, the best LPN school near me for practical nursing programs is the best option who are desperate to learn more about how to fix any kind of disease by enrolling in nursing courses.

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