Nursing Care Plan for Anorexia (Loss of Appetite): Promoting Nutritional Intake and Addressing Underlying Factors

Nursing Care Plan for Anorexia (Loss of Appetite): Promoting Nutritional Intake and Addressing Underlying Factors


Loss of appetite, also known as anorexia, is a common symptom experienced by individuals across various health conditions. As a nurse, your role is crucial in addressing and managing the loss of appetite to ensure optimal nutrition and the overall well-being of patients. This nursing care plan outlines evidence-based interventions and strategies to support patients with loss of appetite.

Loss of appetite, also known as anorexia, can significantly impact an individual’s nutritional status and overall well-being. As a nurse, it is essential to develop a comprehensive care plan that addresses the underlying causes of loss of appetite, promotes adequate nutrition, and supports the individual’s physical and emotional health. This article presents a nursing care plan for loss of appetite, focusing on assessment, nursing diagnoses, and appropriate interventions.

Patient Information:

  • Name: [Patient’s Name]
  • Age: [Patient’s Age]
  • Gender: [Patient’s Gender]
  • Medical History: [Relevant medical history]
  • Medical Diagnosis: Anorexia (Loss of Appetite)
  • Date of Admission: [Date of Admission]
  • Date of Care Plan: [Date of Care Plan]

Nursing Assessment for Loss of Appetite:

A thorough assessment is crucial for understanding the factors contributing to the loss of appetite. Key assessments include:

  • Medical history, including any underlying medical conditions or medications that may affect appetite.
  • Physical assessment to evaluate the individual’s nutritional status, weight changes, and signs of malnutrition.
  • Psychosocial assessment to identify any emotional or psychological factors that may be impacting appetites, such as depression, anxiety, or stress.
  • Evaluation of the individual’s dietary habits, food preferences, and mealtime routines.
  • Assessment of any other symptoms or side effects, such as nausea, taste changes, or oral health issues, that may affect appetite.
  • Perform a comprehensive assessment to identify the underlying cause of the loss of appetite, such as physical or psychological factors, medication side effects, or comorbid conditions.
  • Evaluate the patient’s nutritional status, including weight, body mass index (BMI), and serum albumin levels.
  • Assess the patient’s dietary preferences, food aversions, and cultural considerations related to food choices.
  • Assess the patient’s mental health status, including signs of depression, anxiety, or stress, which can contribute to loss of appetite.

Nursing Diagnosis for Anorexia:

Based on the assessment, the following nursing diagnoses may be applicable to individuals with loss of appetite:

  • Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements related to decreased oral intake.
  • Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: More than Body Requirements related to compensatory overeating or reliance on unhealthy food choices.
  • Risk for Impaired Nutritional Status related to inadequate intake of essential nutrients.
  • Disturbed Body Image related to changes in weight or body composition.
  • Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements related to loss of appetite.
  • Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: Deficient Intake related to decreased appetite and inadequate food intake.
  • Ineffective Coping related to emotional factors contributing to the loss of appetite.

Nursing Goals for Loss of Appetite:

Goal 1: Improve Nutritional Intake:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s nutritional status, including weight, BMI, and dietary habits.
  • Collaborate with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan that considers the patient’s preferences and nutritional needs.
  • Encourage the patient to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to help increase caloric intake.
  • Offer a variety of foods that are nutrient-dense and appealing to the patient’s taste.
  • Provide oral nutritional supplements, if necessary, to ensure adequate nutrient intake.
  • Monitor the patient’s weight regularly to assess the effectiveness of the intervention and make adjustments as needed.

Goal 2: Identify and Address Underlying Causes:

  • Assess the patient’s medical history and current medications to identify any potential causes of appetite loss, such as medication side effects or underlying medical conditions.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to manage or adjust medications that may be contributing to the loss of appetite.
  • Address any physical discomfort or pain that may be impacting the patient’s desire to eat.
  • Evaluate the patient for symptoms of depression or anxiety, as these conditions can affect appetite. Refer the patient for appropriate psychological support if needed.
  • Educate the patient and family about the importance of a balanced diet and the potential consequences of inadequate nutrition.

Goal 3: Enhance Mealtime Environment:

  • Create a comfortable and pleasant mealtime environment to encourage appetite.
  • Ensure that meals are served in a quiet and well-ventilated area with appropriate lighting.
  • Provide assistance with feeding, if necessary, and allow ample time for the patient to eat at their own pace.
  • Encourage the presence of family members or loved ones during meals to provide social support and enhance the dining experience.
  • Minimize distractions during mealtime, such as loud noises or excessive activity.

Goal 4: Monitor and Evaluate:

  • Regularly assess the patient’s appetite and food intake, documenting any changes or improvements.
  • Monitor the patient’s weight, BMI, and laboratory values (e.g., albumin, pre-albumin) to evaluate nutritional status.
  • Collaborate with the dietitian and healthcare team to review the effectiveness of the care plan and make necessary modifications.
  • Communicate with the patient and family regularly to address concerns and provide ongoing education and support.

Nursing Interventions for Anorexia:

Imbalanced Nutrition: Less Than Body Requirements:

  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to determine appropriate dietary modifications, such as a soft or pureed diet, to accommodate the patient’s preferences and improve food intake.
  • Encourage small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day to minimize feelings of fullness and improve nutritional intake.
  • Provide nutritional supplements or oral nutritional support as prescribed to bridge nutritional gaps and meet the patient’s dietary needs.
  • Monitor the patient’s weight regularly and adjust interventions accordingly to ensure progress toward optimal nutrition.

Risk for Imbalanced Nutrition: Deficient Intake:

  • Assess the patient’s understanding of proper nutrition and educate on the importance of a balanced diet.
  • Provide education on nutrient-dense food choices, portion sizes, and meal planning to ensure the patient receives adequate nutrition.
  • Offer a variety of food options that align with the patient’s preferences and cultural considerations to enhance appetite and promote food intake.
  • Collaborate with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan that accommodates the patient’s dietary needs and preferences.

Ineffective Coping:

  • Establish a trusting and supportive nurse-patient relationship to create an environment where the patient feels comfortable discussing emotional factors contributing to the loss of appetite.
  • Encourage open communication and provide a non-judgmental space for the patient to express their concerns and emotions.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to address underlying emotional factors through appropriate interventions, such as counseling, psychotherapy, or medication management if necessary.
  • Provide resources and referrals to support groups or counseling services to help the patient cope with emotional distress and improve appetite.

Nursing Evaluation for Anorexia:

Regularly evaluate the patient’s progress toward the identified goals and modify the care plan as necessary. Collaborate with the healthcare team to monitor the patient’s overall condition, and response to treatment, and address any new concerns or complications that may arise.

  • Improved nutritional intake is demonstrated by weight stabilization or gain, increased dietary variety, and adequate nutrient intake.
  • Enhanced coping strategies to address emotional factors contributing to loss of appetite.
  • Improved overall well-being, including energy levels, mood, and quality of life.


Nursing care plays a critical role in addressing loss of appetite and promoting optimal nutrition for patients. By implementing evidence-based interventions, addressing underlying factors, and providing education and support, nurses contribute significantly to improving appetite, nutritional intake, and overall well-being.

Note: This nursing care plan is a general guideline and should be individualized based on the specific needs and conditions of the patient. Always refer to the patient’s medical history, physician’s orders, and collaborate with the healthcare team for accurate and personalized care.


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