Nausea is one of the most common complaints among patients in healthcare settings. It can be so debilitating that a patient will request medication to treat this symptom before addressing other issues.
This blog post will review the nursing diagnosis of nausea, care plan for managing it in patients, and interventions to use.
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Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not medical advice; it is meant to act as a quick guide to nursing students, for learning purposes only, and should not be applied without an approved physician’s consent. Please consult a registered doctor in case you’re looking for medical advice
Nausea is a sensation that stimulates the desire to vomit. It causes discomfort in the upper abdomen and throat. The person with nausea often feels that they may lose control of their bowel or bladder simultaneously with their nausea.
Nausea is a common symptom caused by many things, including pregnancy, chemotherapy, motion sickness, and heartburn.
A patient suffering from nausea will present with the following signs:
- loss of appetite and weight,
- stomach pain or dizziness.
These patients should have their blood pressure monitored closely as well as any heart rate changes.
Nurses should make sure these patients eat small amounts frequently to help with nausea (e.g., crackers). They may need medications such as antiemetic for short-term relief of severe nausea and vomiting; however, if they are unresponsive, then they will need emergency medical care right away because it could become life-threatening.
The nursing diagnosis for nausea is:
- Thorough medical history and physical examination
- Inadequate nutritional intake related to nausea or vomiting
- Impaired oral intake due to nausea and vomiting
- Altered sleep pattern secondary to pain or uncomfortable surroundings
- Compromised social interaction related to fear of vomiting near others
- Urine test for volume-based electrolytes
These nursing diagnoses suggest that the person is experiencing difficulty with eating patterns and the self-care because of their condition or treatment.
The success of any intervention depends on an individual’s ability to cope with their feeling of nausea or intolerance to certain substances or environments and how long the person has experienced it.
Nausea may also lead to vomiting, which requires additional monitoring by the medical staff because repeated episodes can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance (Ducharme J).
A nursing care plan should involve the following;
The nurse should check the patient for signs of dehydration. You can do this by checking their skin turgor.
To check for skin turgor, lift the skin of the patient. Patients with dehydration will have decreased elasticity in the skin, and their fingers will remain wrinkled even after being pinched together.
The nurse can also use the urea test – Record the number of times you see urine in 24 hours, quality. Note how dark it is or if it is foamy, quantity.
Patients with dehydration will also have dry, cracked lips and tongue, sunken eyes, dark urine, and low urine output.
- The nurse should make suggestions for altering lifestyle that may minimize nausea
- The nurse should increase the patient’s fluid volume intake for hydration purposes.
- Proper nutrition with increased protein, fat, carbohydrates (to help decrease nausea). Consider placing a nasogastric feeding tube if the patient cannot tolerate oral feeds.
- Monitor and record food intake frequently
Careful monitoring of vital signs -Those who are unable to eat or drink will not be able to maintain their volume and electrolyte balance, leading to severe complications.
- Additional interventions may include dopamine and antiemetic (Ducharme J).
- The nurse should encourage deep breathing or relaxation techniques to decrease stress and aid in coping skills through stress management group therapy (Ducharme J).
Position the patient upright with the head elevated if tolerated and encourage frequent small feedings of bland foods such as crackers and toast with liquids.
- Assess the patient’s pain level and consider administering medications as prescribed.
- If the patient is unable to eat or drink, intervention should be administered through an NG tube to deliver nutrients. Consider placing a nasogastric feeding tube if the patient cannot tolerate oral feeds. Monitor and record food intake frequently
For nausea which may lead to vomiting, the nurse should administer antiemetic to decrease nausea and vomiting. The nurses also need to check vital signs frequently because vomiting can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which leads to severe complications like cardiac arrest or respiratory problems.
The best approach for decreasing nausea is through medication. Antiemetic medications are usually prescribed through oral medication. These medications will terminate nausea and vomiting by blocking receptors in the area of the brain, which is related to nausea, vomiting, and increasing appetite. The nurse should also include a non-pharmacological approach such as repositioning the patient and frequent small feedings of crackers with clear liquids if tolerated or even ice chips to decrease nausea.
- Assess intake and output of fluids- check urine color, frequency, output, and patient’s skin turgor.
- The nurses should give medications prescribed by physicians, such as electrolyte supplementation (salt tablets) or oral rehydrating fluids. These will be used to replace the excessive fluid loss from vomiting. Providing oral rehydrating fluids can be very effective because they are isotonic to the body. The goal is to keep the patient hydrated as much as possible. Oral rehydrating fluids will provide calories and other essential nutrients that the patient is lacking.
- Abdominal distension
- Liver failure
- Death if not treated properly.
- Anti-nausea medication
- Fluids to prevent dehydration from vomiting
- Healthy diet modification (smaller meals more frequently)
- Avoidance of triggers (e.g., smells)
- Relaxation techniques can all help to reduce nausea.
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The best treatment for nausea is through pharmacological intervention such as antiemetics and antihistamines. Non-pharmacological interventions include repositioning patients, frequent small feedings of clear liquids or solid food, and deep breathing.
Dehydration is also a complication that can occur in some patients who cannot tolerate oral intake because their vomiting is excessive. This can lead to complications such as abdominal distention, liver failure, and even death. If the patient cannot feed by mouth, consider placing a nasogastric feeding tube for proper nutrition.
We also encourage you to check our article on Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS). Also, in case you’d prefer that our top writers handle your assignment, click the green button below!