Nursing Care Plan for Kwashiorkor

Nursing Care Plan for Kwashiorkor


Kwashiorkor is a severe form of malnutrition that primarily affects children. It is characterized by a deficiency of protein in the diet, leading to a range of clinical manifestations. As a nurse, your role is crucial in the assessment, management, and support of patients with kwashiorkor. This nursing care plan aims to outline evidence-based interventions to assess, manage, and support patients with kwashiorkor.

Patient Assessment for Kwashiorkor:

  • Name: [Patient’s Name]
  • Age: [Patient’s Age]
  • Gender: [Patient’s Gender]
  • Medical History: [Brief summary of patient’s medical history]
  • Diagnosis: Kwashiorkor
  • Date of Admission: [Date of Admission]
  • Date of Care Plan: [Date of Care Plan]

Subjective Data:

  • Family or caregivers may report symptoms such as edema, poor appetite, and changes in the patient’s behavior and energy levels.
  • Family or caregivers may express concerns about the patient’s nutritional status and overall well-being.

Objective Data:

  • Physical examination findings may include edema, especially in the extremities and face.
  • Anthropometric measurements may reveal low weight-for-height or weight-for-age ratios.
  • Laboratory results may show low serum albumin levels, decreased hemoglobin, and other nutritional deficiencies.

Nursing Diagnosis for Kwashiorkor:

  1. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements related to insufficient protein intake.
  2. Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity related to edema and poor wound healing.
  3. Risk for Infection related to compromised immune system and poor nutritional status.
  4. Deficient Knowledge regarding kwashiorkor, dietary requirements, and preventive measures.
  5. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements related to inadequate dietary intake and malabsorption as evidenced by poor appetite, weight loss, and low albumin levels.
  6. Fluid Volume Excess is related to edema formation and fluid shifts as evidenced by peripheral edema and weight gain.
  7. Altered Body Image related to changes in physical appearance and impaired growth as evidenced by patient’s expressions of dissatisfaction or self-esteem issues.

Nursing Interventions for Kwashiorkor:

Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements:

  1. Assess the patient’s nutritional status, including weight, height, and body mass index (BMI).
  2. Collaborate with the healthcare team to develop an individualized nutritional plan that focuses on providing adequate protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals.
  3. Monitor the patient’s dietary intake, offering small, frequent meals and nutrient-dense foods.
  4. Educate the patient and caregivers about the importance of a balanced diet, including protein-rich foods such as lean meats, legumes, and dairy products.
  5. Collaborate with a registered dietitian to develop a nutrition plan that addresses the patient’s specific needs and promotes adequate nutrient intake.
  6. Monitor the patient’s dietary intake and offer small, frequent meals with nutrient-dense foods.
  7. Provide oral nutritional supplements or enteral feedings as necessary to meet the patient’s nutritional requirements.
  8. Educate the patient and family/caregivers about the importance of a balanced diet, including sources of protein, carbohydrates, and micronutrients.
  9. Monitor the patient’s weight regularly and adjust the nutrition plan accordingly.

Fluid Volume Excess:

  • Monitor and record the patient’s weight, intake, and output to assess fluid balance and response to treatment.
  • Implement measures to minimize edema, such as elevating the legs, applying compression stockings, and restricting sodium intake.
  • Administer diuretics as prescribed to promote diuresis and reduce fluid retention.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to monitor and manage electrolyte imbalances associated with fluid shifts.
  • Educate the patient and family/caregivers about the importance of adhering to fluid and sodium restrictions to maintain fluid balance.

Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity:

  1. Assess the patient’s skin regularly, paying close attention to areas prone to edema and breakdown.
  2. Implement measures to reduce edema, such as elevation of the extremities and the use of compression bandages if appropriate.
  3. Provide meticulous skin care, keeping the skin clean and moisturized to prevent dryness and cracking.
  4. Educate the patient and caregivers about the importance of maintaining good hygiene and reporting any skin changes or wounds promptly.

Risk for Infection:

  1. Monitor the patient’s vital signs regularly and assess for signs of infection, such as fever, increased heart rate, or local signs of inflammation.
  2. Collaborate with the healthcare team to administer immunizations and prophylactic antibiotics as appropriate.
  3. Educate the patient and caregivers about infection prevention strategies, including proper hand hygiene, clean food preparation practices, and avoiding contact with sick individuals.
  4. Encourage regular follow-up visits to monitor the patient’s nutritional status and address any signs of infection promptly.

Altered Body Image:

  • Provide emotional support and empathy to the patient and family/caregivers regarding the changes in physical appearance.
  • Encourage the patient to express their feelings and concerns about their body image and self-esteem.
  • Involve the patient in activities that promote self-esteem and self-care, such as grooming and dressing.
  • Collaborate with the healthcare team to address any underlying psychological issues and provide appropriate counseling or referral to a mental health professional.
  • Educate the patient and family/caregivers about the potential for catch-up growth with proper nutrition and the importance of adhering to the prescribed treatment plan.

Deficient Knowledge:

  1. Assess the patient’s understanding of kwashiorkor, including its causes, symptoms, and potential complications.
  2. Provide education on kwashiorkor, emphasizing the importance of a well-balanced diet, adequate protein intake, and regular follow-up appointments.
  3. Teach the patient and caregivers about the importance of breastfeeding, if applicable, and introduce age-appropriate complementary foods.
  4. Offer written materials, reliable resources, or referrals to support groups for additional information and ongoing support.

Kwashiorkor Nursing Evaluation:

  1. Improved nutritional status through an individualized dietary plan and increased intake of protein-rich foods.
  2. Preservation of skin integrity through preventive measures and diligent skin care.
  3. Reduced risk of infection through immunizations, prophylactic antibiotics, and education on infection prevention.
  4. Increased knowledge and understanding of kwashiorkor, dietary requirements, and preventive measures.
  5. The patient’s nutritional status improves, with weight gain or stabilization and resolution of nutrient deficiencies.
  6. The patient’s edema decreases, and fluid balance is within an acceptable range.
  7. The patient demonstrates improved body image and self-esteem.
  8. The patient and family/caregivers actively engage in self-care strategies and seek appropriate support when needed.


Regularly document the patient’s nutritional status, skin assessments, educational interventions, vital signs, and the patient’s response to treatment. Collaborate with the interdisciplinary healthcare team to review and update the care plan based on the patient’s condition and evolving needs.

Note: This nursing care plan is a general guideline and should be individualized based on the patient’s specific needs, nutritional status, treatment plan, and healthcare provider’s recommendations.


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