Thursday, August 4, 2005


295.30 Paranoid type
295.10 Disorganized type
295.20 Catatonic type
295.90 Undifferentiated type
295.60 Residual type
(Refer to DSM-IV for other listings.)
Schizophrenia describes psychotic state that at some time is characterized by apathy, avolition, asociality, affective blunting, and alogia. The client has alterations in thoughts, percepts, mood, and behavior. Subjective experiences of disordered thought are manifested in disturbances of concept formation that sometimes lead to misinterpretations of reality, delusions (particularly delusions of influence and ideas of reference), and hallucinations. Mood changes include ambivalence, constriction or inappropriateness of feeling, and loss of empathy with others. Behavior may be withdrawn, regressive, or bizarre (Shader, 1994).
Psychosis is the result of a weak ego. The development of the ego has been inhibited by a symbiotic parent/child relationship. Because the ego is weak, the use of ego defense mechanisms in times of extreme anxiety is maladaptive, and behaviors are often representations of the id segment of the personality.
Certain genetic factors may be involved in the susceptibility to develop some forms of this psychotic disorder. Individuals are at higher risk for the disorder if there is a familial pattern of involvement (parents, siblings, other relatives). Schizophrenia has been determined to be a sporadic illness (which means genes cannot currently be followed from generation to generation). It is an autosomal dominant trait. However, most scientists agree that what is inherited is a vulnerability or predisposition, which may be due to an enzyme defect or some other biochemical abnormality, a subtle neurological deficit, or some other factor or combination of factors. This predisposition, in combination with environmental factors, results in development of the disease. Some research implies that these disorders may be a birth defect, occurring in the hippocampus region of the brain. The studies show a disordering of the pyramidal cells in the brains of schizophrenics, while the cells in the brains of nonschizophrenic individuals appear to be arranged in an orderly fashion. Ventricular brain ratio (VBR) or disproportionately small brain (or specific areas of the brain) may be inherited and/or congenital. The cause can be a virus, lack of oxygen, birth trauma, severe maternal malnutrition, or cellular damage resulting from an RhD immune response (mother negative/fetus positive).
A biochemical theory suggests the involvement of elevated levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to produce the symptoms of overactivity and fragmentation of associations that are commonly observed in psychoses.
Although overall occurrence is relatively equal between males and females, resources report a predominant male bias with two-thirds of young adults with serious mental illnesses being male. Boys react more strongly than girls to stress and conflicts in the family home, and are more vulnerable to infantile autism. A significantly larger number of males than females exhibit obsessive and suicidal behaviors, fetishism, and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia develops earlier in males, and they respond less well to treatment and have less chance of recovery and return to normal life than females. The incidence in females may have more familial origins. The different brain organization of men and women, and the effect of sex hormones on brain growth are likely to result in subtle differences that define the “scope and range of sex differences in the incidence, clinical presentation, and course of specific psychiatric diseases” (Moir & Jessel, 1991).
Family Dynamics
Family systems theory describes the development of schizophrenia as it evolves out of a dysfunctional family system. Conflict between spouses drives one parent to become attached to the child. This overinvestment in the child redirects the focus of anxiety in the family, and a more stable condition results. A symbiotic relationship develops between parent and child; the child remains totally dependent on the parent into adulthood and is unable to respond to the demands of adult functioning.
Interpersonal theory relates that the psychotic person is the product of a parent/child relationship fraught with intense anxiety. The child receives confusing and conflicting messages from the parent and is unable to establish trust. High levels of anxiety are maintained, and the child’s concept of self is one of ambiguity. A retreat into psychosis offers relief from anxiety and security from intimate relatedness. Some research indicates that clients who live with families high in expressed emotion (e.g., hostility, criticism, disappointment, overprotectiveness, and overinvolvement) show more frequent relapses than clients who live with families who are low in expressed emotion.
Current research of genetic and biological influences suggests that these family interactions are more likely to be contributing factors to rather than the cause of the disorder.
Interruption of sleep by hallucinations and delusional thoughts, early awakening, insomnia, and hyperactivity (e.g., pacing)
Poor personal hygiene, unkempt/disheveled appearance
History of alteration in functioning for at least 6 months, including an active phase of at least 2 weeks in which psychotic symptoms were evident
Family reports of psychological symptoms (primarily in thought and perception) and deterioration from previous level of adaptive functioning
Mental Status:
Thought: Delusions, loose association
Perception: Hallucinations, illusions
Affect: Blunted, flat, inappropriate, incongruous, or silly
Volition: Cannot self-initiate or participate in goal-oriented activity
Capacity to Relate to Environment: Mental/emotional withdrawal and isolation (autism) and/or psychomotor activity ranging from marked reduction to stereotypic, purposeless activity
Speech: Frequently incoherent, echolalia may be noted/alogia (inability to speak) may occur
Disorganized type—Fragmentary delusions or hallucinations (disorganized,
unthematized [without theme] content) common; systematized delusions absent
Paranoid type—One or more systematized delusions with prominent persecutory or
grandiose content; delusional jealousy may occur
Undifferentiated type—Delusions prominent
Behaviors: Grimaces, mannerisms, hypochondriacal complaints, extreme social withdrawal, and other odd behaviors
Negativism: Resistance to all directions or attempts to move without apparent motive
Rigidity: Rigid posture maintained despite attempts to move client
Excitement: Purposeless motor activity not caused by external stimuli
Posturing: Voluntarily assuming inappropriate or bizarre posture
Emotions: Unfocused anxiety, anger, argumentativeness, and violence
May have had previous acute episodes with impairment ranging from none to severe deterioration requiring institutionalization
Onset of symptoms most commonly occurring between the late teens and mid-30s
Correlations with family history of psychiatric illness; lower socioeconomic groups, higher stressors; premorbid personality described as suspicious, introverted, withdrawn, or eccentric
Speech disorganized, communication consistently incoherent
Behavior regressive/primitive, incoherent, and grossly disorganized
Psychomotor: Stupor, markedly decreased reactivity to milieu, and/or reduced spontaneity of movement/activity or mutism
Affect: Incoherent, flat, incongruent, silly
Social Interactions
Extreme social impairment/withdrawal; odd mannersisms
Poor premorbid personality
Chronic course with no significant remissions
(Although common several decades ago, incidence has decreased markedly with the advent of antipsychotic medications.)
Marked psychomotor retardation or excessive/purposeless motor activity
Exhaustion (extreme agitation)
Weight below norms; other signs of malnutrition
Marked psychomotor disturbance (e.g., stupor, rigidity, mutism or excitement, negativism, waxy flexibility, and/or posturing)
Speech: Echolalia or echopraxia
Possible violence to self/others (during catatonic stupor or excitement)
Possible hypochondriacal complaints or oddities of behavior
(Absence of symptoms characteristic of disorganized and catatonic types.)
Systematized delusions and/or auditory hallucinations of a persecutory or grandiose nature, usually related to a single theme
Easily agitated, assaultive, and violent (if delusions are acted on)
Impairment in functioning (may be minimal), with gross disorganization of behavior (relatively rare)
Social Interactions
Significant impairment may be noted in social/marital areas
Affective responsiveness may be preserved but often with a stilted, formal quality or extreme intensity in interpersonal interactions
May express doubts about gender identity (e.g., fear of being thought of as, or approached by, a homosexual)
Other family members may have history of paranoid problems
(This category is used when illness does not meet the criteria for the other specific types of schizophrenias, illness meets the criteria for more than one, or course of the last episode is unknown.)
Prominent delusions/hallucinations, incoherence, and grossly disorganized behaviors
Inappropriate affect
Social Interactions
Social withdrawal, eccentric behavior
History of at least one episode of schizophrenia in which psychotic symptoms were evident, but the current clinical picture presents no psychotic symptoms
(Usually done to rule out physical illness, which may cause reversible symptoms such as: toxic/deficiency states, infections, neurological disease, endocrine/metabolic disorders.)
CT Scan: May show subtle abnormalities of brain structures in some schizophrenics (e.g., atrophy of temporal lobes); enlarged ventricles with increased ventricle-brain ratio may correlate with degree of symptoms displayed.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: Measures the metabolic activity of specific areas of the brain and may reveal low metabolic activity in the frontal lobes, especially in the prefrontal area of the cerebral cortex.
MRI: Provides a three-dimensional image of the brain; may reveal smaller than average frontal lobes, atrophy of left temporal lobe (specifically anterior hippocampus, parahippocampogyrus, and superior temporal gyrus).
Regional Cerebral Blood Flow (RCBF): Maps blood flow and implies the intensity of activity in various brain regions.
Brain Electrical Activity Mapping (BEAM): Shows brain wave responses to various stimuli with delayed and decreased response noted, particularly in left temporal lobe and associated limbic system.
Addiction Severity Index (ASI): Determines problems of addiction (substance abuse), which may be associated with mental illness, and indicates areas of treatment
Psychological Testing (e.g., MMPI): Reveals impairment in one or more areas. Note: Paranoid type usually shows little or no impairment.
1. Promote appropriate interaction between client and environment.
2. Enhance physiological stability/health maintenance.
3. Provide protection; ensure safety needs.
4. Encourage family/significant other(s) to become involved in activities to promote independent, satisfying lives.
1. Physiological well-being maintained with appropriate balance between rest and activity.
2. Demonstrates increasing/highest level of emotional responsiveness possible.
3. Interacts socially without decompensation.
4. Family displays effective coping skills and appropriate use of resources.
5. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.
May Be Related to: Disintegration of thinking processes; impaired judgment
Psychological conflicts; disintegrated ego boundaries (confusion with environment)
Sleep disturbance
Ambivalence and concomitant dependence (part of need-fear dilemma interferes with ability to self-initiate fulfilling diversional activities)
Possibly Evidenced by: Presence of delusional system (may be grandiose, persecutory, of reference, of control, somatic, accusatory); commands, obsessions
Symbolic and concrete associations; blocking ideas of reference
Inaccurate interpretation of environment; cognitive dissonance; impaired ability to make decisions
Simple hyperactivity and constant motor activity (ritualistic acts, stereotyped behavior) to withdrawal and psychomotor retardation
Interrupted sleep patterns
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Recognize changes in thinking/behavior.
Client Will: Identify delusions and increase capacity to cope effectively with them by elimination of pathological thinking.
Maintain reality orientation.
Establish interpersonal relationships.

Determine severity of client’s altered thought Identification of symbolic/primitive nature of
processes, noting form (dereistic, autistic, symbolic, thinking/communications promotes
loose and/or concrete associations, blocking); understanding of the individual client’s thought
content (somatic delusions, delusions of grandeur/ processes and enables planning of appropriate
persecution, ideas of reference); and flow (flight of interventions.
ideas, retardation).
Establish a therapeutic nurse-client relationship. Provides an emotionally safe milieu that enables
interpersonal interaction and decreases autism.
Use therapeutic communications (e.g., reflection, Therapeutic communications are clear, concise,
paraphrasing) to intervene effectively. open, consistent, and require use of self. This
reduces autistic thinking.
Structure communications to reflect consideration Lack of consideration of these factors can cause
of client’s socioeconomic, educational, and cultural misdiagnosis/inaccurate interpretation (otherwise
history/values. normal thinking viewed as pathological).
Express desire to understand client’s thinking by Client is often unable to organize thoughts (easily
clarifying what is unclear, focusing on the feeling distracted, cannot grasp concepts or wholeness but
rather than the content, endeavoring to understand focuses on minutiae), and flow of thoughts is often
(in spite of the client’s unclearness), listening characterized as racing, wandering, or retarded.
carefully, and regulating the flow of the thinking as Active-listening identifies patterns of client’s
needed (Active-listening). thoughts and facilitates understanding. Expression
of desire to understand conveys caring and
increases client’s feelings of self-worth.
Reinforce congruent thinking. Refuse to argue/ Provides opportunity for the client to control
agree with disintegrated thoughts. Present reality aggressive behavior. Decreases altered
and demonstrate motivation to understand client (disintegrated, delusional) thinking as client’s
(model patience). thoughts compensate in response to presentation
of reality.
Share appropriate thinking and set limits (cognitive Enhances self-esteem and promotes safety for the
therapy) if client tries to respond impulsively to client and others. Cognitive therapy is directed
altered thinking. specifically at thinking patterns that have
developed (e.g., illogical associations are made
between events that most of us would not believe
to be connected). Aim is to modify apparently
fixed beliefs, faulty interpretations, and automatic
thoughts, and by relating them to “normal
experience” to reduce some of the fear attached to
Assess rest/sleep pattern by observing capacity to Delusions, hallucinations, etc. may interfere with
fall asleep, quality of sleep. Graph sleep chart as client’s sleep pattern. Fears may alter ability to fall
indicated until acceptable pattern is established. asleep. Sleep deprivation can produce behaviors
such as withdrawal, confusion, disturbance of
perception. Sleep chart identifies abnormal
patterns and is useful in evaluating effectiveness of
Structure appropriate times for rest and sleep; adjust Consistency in scheduling reduces
work/rest activity patterns as needed. fears/insecurities, which may be interfering with
sleep. Sleep is enhanced by balancing activity
(physical, occupational) with rest/sleep.
Help client identify/learn techniques that promote Enhances client’s ability to optimize rest/sleep,
rest/sleep (e.g., quiet activities, soothing music, maximizing ability to think clearly.
before bedtime, regular hour for going to bed,
drinking warm milk).
Assess presence/degree of factors affecting client’s Presence of hallucinations/delusions; situational
capacity for diversional activities. factors such as long-term hospitalization
(characterized by monotony, sensory deprivation);
psychological factors such as decreased volition;
physical factors such as immobility contribute to
deficits in diversional activity.
Monitor medication regimen, observing for thera- Enables identification of the minimal effective dose
peutic effect and side effects (e.g., anticholinergic to reduce psychotic symptoms with the fewest
[dry mouth, etc.], sedation, orthostatic hypotension, adverse effects. Prevention of side effects/timely
photosensitivity, hormonal effects, reduction of intervention may enhance cooperation with drug
seizure threshold, extrapyramidal symptoms, and regimen. Identification of the onset of serious side
fatigue/weakness with sore throat or signs of effects, such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome,
infection [agranulocytosis]). provides for appropriate interventions to avoid
permanent damage.
Administer medications as indicated, e.g.:
Antipsychotics: Used to reduce psychotic symptoms. May be given
Phenothiazines, such as orally or by injection. For long-term maintenance
chlorpromazine (Thorazine), therapy, a depot neuroleptic such as Prolixin may
thioridazine (Mellaril), be the drug of choice to maintain medication
fluphenazine (Prolixin), adherence and prevent relapse in problematic
perphenazine (Trilafon); clients. When given at bedtime, the sedative effects
Thioxanthenes, such as of psychotropic medication can enhance quality of
chlorprothixene (Taractan), sleep and reduce hypotensive side effects.
thiothixene (Navane);
Butyrophenones, such as
haloperidol (Haldol);
Dibenzoxazepines, such as
loxapine (Loxitane);
Atypical antipsychotics: Useful in treating clients resistant to other
clozapine (Clozaril); medications or in the presence of unacceptable
side effects. Clozapine causes no muscular rigidity
and is associated with a relatively low rate of
akathisia (feeling of restlessness, urgent need for
movement). May not be used as first-line therapy
because of a lowered seizure threshold or a 1%–2%
potential for agranulocytosis, necessitating weekly
blood testing for the duration of treatment. Note:
Combination therapy, e.g., clozapine and a
neuroleptic, such as fluphenazine or haloperidol,
may be useful for some clients.
olanzapine (Zyprexa); Becoming a first-line drug choice as it specifically
targets D4 dopamine receptors, which may be
present in unusually high numbers in clients with
schizophrenia. Drug seems well tolerated, with
many side effects appearing to be dose-related and
no known drug interactions that affect plasma
level or compromise efficacy.
Risperidone (Risperdal); Effective therapeutic agent has been associated
with few uncomfortable or serious side effects,
especially agranulocytosis.
Antiparkinsonism drugs: Used to relieve drug-induced extrapyramidal
Anticholinergics, such as reactions and treat all other forms of
trihexyphenidyl HCl (Artane), benztropine parkinsonism. They block action of acetylcholine,
mesylate (Cogentin), procyclidine HCl thereby reducing excitation of the basal ganglia.
(Kemadrin), biperiden HCl (Akineton);
Antihistamines, such as Suppress cholinergic activity and prolong the
diphenhydramine (Benadryl); action of dopamine by inhibiting its reuptake and
Miscellaneous agents, such as These agents release dopamine from presynaptic
amantadine (Symmetrel). nerve endings in basal ganglia.
May Be Related to: Panic levels of anxiety
Disturbance in thought, perception, affect, sense of self, volition, relationship to environment
Psychomotor behavior
Possibly Evidenced by: Illusions, delusions, and hallucinations
Changes in usual response to stimuli
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Identify self in relationship to environment.
Client Will: Recognize reality and dismiss internal voices.
Demonstrate improved cognitive, perceptual, affective, and psychomotor abilities.

Assess the presence/severity of alterations in client’s Provides information about client’s behavior
perceptions. Note possible causative/contributing potentials regarding ADLs, sleep patterns,
factors (e.g., anxiety, substance abuse, fever, trauma, potential for violence (command hallucinations,
or other organic illnesses/conditions). homicide, suicide), nonverbal and verbal
behaviors (content, form, style, flow).
Spend time with client, listening with regard and Continued, consistent support/acceptance will
providing support for changes client is making. reduce anxiety and fears and enable client to
decrease altered perceptions.
Provide a safe environment by not arguing with or Altered perceptions are frightening to the client
ridiculing the client. and indicate loss of control. Because of lack of
insight, client views altered perceptions as reality.
Arguing only leads to defensiveness and a
regressive struggle with the client.
Orient to reality by communicating effectively (clear, Client’s distortion of reality is a defense against
concise); reinforcing reality of client’s altered actual reality, which is more frightening. Reality
perceptions; and clarifying time, place, and person. orientation assists client to correctly interpret
stimuli within the milieu.
Set limits on client’s impulsive response to altered Client who is perceiving the environment
perceptions. Remain with the client and provide incorrectly lacks internal controls to prevent
distraction when possible. impulsive response to misperceptions. Often client
feels more in control if nurse remains in room.
Distraction (music, TV, games) may also support
client to regain capacity to control response to
altered perceptions.
Be honest in expressing fears, especially if potential Informing client when behaviors are frightening
for violence is perceived. (Refer to ND: Violence, and providing anticipatory guidance (by
risk for, directed at self/others.) verbalizing actions) focuses attention on reality
and helps reduce anxiety.
Provide external controls (quiet room, seclusion, External limits and controls must be provided to
restraints); inform client of intent to use touch, as protect client and others until client regains control
indicated. internally and is able to ignore altered perceptions.
May Be Related to: Psychological barriers, psychosis
Autistic and delusional thinking
Alterations in perception
Possibly Evidenced by: Inability to verbalize rationally
Verbal expressions, such as neologisms, echolalia, associative/looseness, paralogic language
Nonverbal expressions, such as echopraxia, stereotypic behaviors (bizarre gesturing, facial expressions, and posturing)
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Verbalize or indicate an understanding of
Client Will: communication problems.
Employ strategies to communicate effectively both verbally and nonverbally.
Establish means of communication in which needs can be understood.

Evaluate degree/type of communication Degree of impairment of verbal/nonverbal
impairment. communications (loose associations, neologisms,
echolalia, and echopraxia) will affect client’s ability
to interact with staff and others and to participate
in care.
Demonstrate a listening attitude within the nurse- Enables the nurse to listen carefully, observe
client relationship. the client, and anticipate and watch certain
patterns of client’s communication that may
Acknowledge client’s difficulty in communicating. Recognition of client’s difficulty in expressing
ideas and feelings demonstrates empathy,
lessening anxiety and enabling client to
concentrate on communicating.
Provide a nonthreatening environment/safe forum Atmosphere in which a person feels free to express
for client’s communications. self without fear of criticism helps to meet safety
needs, increasing trust and providing assurance
for tolerance and validation of appropriate
negative communications.
Accept use of alternative communications, such as Increases client’s feelings of security, provides
drawing, singing, dancing, mime. avenues for expressing needs.
Avoid arguing or agreeing with inaccurate Arguing is nontherapeutic and may cause the
communications; simply offer reality view in client to become defensive. Agreeing with the
nonjudgmental style (communicate your lack of client’s expression of inaccurate communication
understanding to client). reinforces misinterpretation of reality.
Use therapeutic communication skills, such as Client’s flow of communications (too fast/too
paraphrasing, reflecting, clarification. slow) may require regulation. These techniques
assist with reality orientation, thereby minimizing
misinterpretation and facilitating accurate
Be open and honest in therapeutic use of verbal and Client has increased sensitivity to nonverbal
nonverbal communications. messages. Honesty increases sense of trust, a loss
of which is at the base of the client’s problem.
Openness and genuineness in expression of
feelings provide a role model for client.
Use a supportive approach to client by Recognizes that client’s past experiences have
communicating desire to understand (ask client to created distrust, which produces attempt to
help you do so). maintain distance by being vague and unclear in
sending messages.
Identify the symbolic, primitive nature of the client’s Recognition of the symbolism of the client’s
speech/communications. primitive speech and thinking enables the nurse to
better understand the client’s feelings. Without
this recognition, the actual communications may
be vague and disorganized, indicating client’s
inability to focus and perceive clearly.
Note cultural beliefs (e.g., talking to dead relatives) Cultural attitudes need to be considered to avoid
that may be accepted as normal within the client’s confusion with pathological condition.
frame of reference.
May Be Related to: Personal vulnerability; inadequate support system(s)
Unrealistic perceptions
Inadequate coping methods
Disintegration of thought processes
Possibly Evidenced by: Impaired judgment, cognition, and perception
Diminished problem-solving/decision-making capacities
Poor self-concept
Chronic anxiety and depression
Inability to perform role expectations
Alteration in social participation
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Identify ineffective coping behaviors and
Client Will: consequences.
Demonstrate understanding of and begin to use appropriate, constructive, effective methods for coping.
Display behavior congruent with verbalization of feelings.

Determine the presence/degree of impairment of Provides information about perceived and actual
client’s coping abilities. coping ability, life change units, anxiety level,
stresses (internal, external), developmental level of
functioning, use of defense mechanisms, and
problem-solving ability.
Assist client to identify/discuss thoughts, perceptions, Client is able to view how perceptions/thinking/
and feelings. affect is processed and to strengthen reality
orientation and coping skills.
Encourage client to express areas of concern. This disorder first manifests itself at an early age,
Support formulation of realistic goals and learning before the client has had an opportunity to learn
of appropriate problem-solving techniques. effective coping skills. In a trusting relationship (a
climate of acceptance), the client can begin to learn
these skills, without fear of judgment.
Encourage client to identify precipitants that led to Knowledge of stressors that have precipitated
ineffective coping, when possible. deteriorated coping ability enables client to
recognize and deal with these factors before
problems occur.
Explore how client’s perceptions are validated prior With support, client has the opportunity to learn
to drawing conclusions. to validate perceptions before selecting
ineffective/inappropriate coping methods (such as
acting-out behavior).
Assist client to recognize and develop appropriate/ Increased/more flexible problem-solving or
effective coping skills. coping behaviors prevent decompensation
(distorted reality, delusional system).
May Be Related to: Disintegrated thought processes (perception, cognition, affect)
Loose/disintegration of ego boundaries
Perceived threats to the self
Disintegration of behavior, affect
Possibly Evidenced by: Expressions of worthlessness, negative feelings about self
Impaired judgment, cognition, and perception; protective delusional systems; disturbed sense of self (depersonalization and delusions of control)
Role performance deterioration in family, social, and work areas
Inadequate development of self-esteem and hopefulness
Ambivalence and autism (interfering with acceptance of self and meaning of own existence)
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Demonstrate enhanced sense of self by
Client Will: decreasing episodes of depersonalization and delusions.
Verbalize feelings of value/worthwhileness and view self as competent and socially acceptable (by self and others).
Develop appropriate plans for improvement of role performance that promote highest possible level of adaptive functioning.
Demonstrate self-directedness by expressing own needs and desires and making effective decisions.
Participate in activities with others.

Assess the degree of disturbance in client’s self- Documents own and others’ perceptions, client’s
concept. goals, significant losses/changes. Provides basis
for determination of therapy needs and evaluation
of progress.
Spend time with client; listen with positive regard Conveys empathy, acceptance, support, which
and acceptance. enhances client’s self-esteem. Personal identity is
strengthened as client identifies with the nurse and
experiences therapeutic caring within the
Encourage client to verbalize areas of concern/ Self-esteem is improved by increased insight into
feelings. feelings. Insight is gained as client verbalizes/
identifies feelings (e.g., inadequacy, worthlessness,
rejection, loneliness).
Help client identify how negative feelings decrease Negative feelings can lead to severe anxiety
self-esteem. and/or suspiciousness. Increased awareness/
perception of factors that cause negative feelings
can help client recognize how negative feelings
cause deterioration.
Encourage client to recognize positive characteristics Discussion of positive aspects of the self-system,
related to self. such as social skills, work abilities, education,
talents, and appearance, can reinforce client’s
feelings of being a worthwhile/competent person.
Review personal appearance and things client can Positive personal appearance enhances body
do to enhance hygiene/grooming. (Refer to ND: Self image and self-respect.
Care deficit [specify].)
Encourage client to participate in appropriate Enhances capacity for interpersonal relationships
activities/exercise program. (both 1:1 and in small groups). Activities that use
the five senses increase the sense of self. Physical
exercise promotes positive sense of well-being.
Assess client’s capacity to tolerate use of touch. Careful use of touch can help client reestablish
body boundaries (if the experience can be tolerated).
Provide positive reinforcement for client’s abilities/ Positive feedback increases self-esteem, provides
efforts. encouragement, and promotes a sense of self-
Determine current level of role performance and Factors such as inadequate knowledge, role
note causative/contributing factors that affect it. conflict, alteration of self/others’ perceptions of
role, and change in usual patterns of responsibility
can affect the client’s physical and psychological
capacity for effective role performance.
Assist the client to adapt to changing role The client’s eventual level of performance may be
performance by working with client/significant positively influenced by a support system that is
other(s) to develop strategies for dealing with responsive and caring.
disturbances in role and enhancing expectations of
coping effectively.
Help client set realistic goals for managing life and Client needs to be productive and benefits from
performing own ADLs. being given the responsibility for own life and
direction within limits of ability.
Assess the current sense of personal identity, Identifies individual needs, appropriate
considering if client acknowledges sense of self. interventions. Inability to identify self poses a
(Observe how client addresses self (e.g., may refer major problem that can interfere with person’s
to self in third person). Also consider if client interactions with others.
expresses feelings of unreadiness, merging with
Analyze the presence/severity of factors that alter Disintegrated ego boundaries can cause a
personal identity (e.g., paranoia, blunted affect). weakened sense of self. Clients often express fears
of merging and thereby losing personal identity.
Assess presence/severity of factors that affect Disintegrated behaviors create such factors as
client’s religious/spiritual orientation. Note displaced anger toward God, expression of
presence of religiosity. concern with meaning of life/death/values (may
be expressed as delusions, hallucinations). These
concerns may negatively affect the individual’s
sense of self-worth. Client may use religious
beliefs as a defense against fears.
Use therapeutic communication skills to support Therapeutic communications, such as Active-
client’s verbalization of sense of self and to discover listening, summarizing, reflection, can support
its relationship to meaning of existence. client to find own solutions.
Facilitate early discharge for client when Clients can increase their sense of self by early
hospitalization has been required. return to own milieu surrounded by personal
Administer appropriate tests (e.g., ask client to draw These tests demonstrate client’s view, the client’s
a stick figure of self, Body Image Aberration, concept of self, and their correlation to many
Physical Anhedonia Scale). variables.
Refer to resources such as occupational therapist/ Provides activities that promote feelings of self-
movement therapy/Outdoor Education Program; worth and accomplishment during involvement
others. with partial hospitalization program. Partial
hospitalization may facilitate transition from
hospital setting to community.
Initiate involvement in/refer to religious activities Spiritual resources such as a pattern of prayer, a
and resources as desired or appropriate. Note over- sense of faith, or membership in an organized
involvement in religious activity. religious group may enhance the development of
client’s coping resources, sense of acceptance/self-
worth. Strong attachment to an ideology
(religiosity) may be used in an attempt to control
feelings of anxiety.
May Be Related to: Disintegration of thought processes
Perception and affect occurring in response to overwhelming feelings of losing control; threat to self-concept
Change in environment, role functioning, interaction patterns
Extremes in psychomotor activity (occurring with chronicity or severity)
Possibly Evidenced by: Inappropriate/regressed or absent responses; poor eye contact
Increased perception of danger; focus on self
Decreased problem-solving ability
Fear of perceived loss of control or approval from significant other(s); inappropriate response to such feelings; hurting self or others
Psychomotor disturbances varying from excited motor behavior to immobility
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Respond appropriately to feelings of
Client Will: overwhelming anxiety (fears, loss of control, feelings of rejection) by decreasing regressive behaviors (disintegrated thinking/perception affect).
Communicate anxious feelings openly in an acceptable manner.
Orient to reality as evidenced by interpreting milieu correctly.
Verbalize no perceived danger in interactions with others.

Note the level of the client’s anxiety, considering The weakened ego of schizophrenia causes a
severity, unfulfilled needs, misperceptions, decreased capacity to distinguish reality and a
present use of defense mechanisms, diminished capacity to problem-solve. This can
and coping skills. and coping skills.result in a heightened sense of
helplessness and anxiety.
Assess the degree and reality of the fears currently The client’s experience of fear may contribute to
perceived by the client. decreased coping capacity and increased
Establish trust through a patient, supportive, caring, Trust, which is difficult for schizophrenic clients, is
and accepting relationship. the basis of a therapeutic nurse-client relationship.
The mutuality of the 1:1 experience enables clients
to work through their fears and to identify
appropriate methods for problem-solving by role-
modeling within the relationship.
Encourage the client to verbalize fears. Verbalization of frightening perceptions (fears)
reduces withdrawal and/or potential for violence
(projection of aggressive impulses).
Assist client to identify/communicate sources of Anxiety can arise from misperceived threats to
anxiety and areas of concern. self, unfulfilled needs, and perceived losses (of
control/approval). Disintegration of thinking,
perception, and affect may be reduced as client
verbalizes frightening feelings.
Monitor for drug effectiveness/side effects. Prevention of medication side effects can reduce
frightening physiological experiences that can
escalate anxiety.
Demonstrate/encourage use of effective, Maladaptive coping needs to be examined with
constructive strategies for coping with anxiety emphasis on ineffectiveness of outcomes. Reduces
(e.g., relaxation and thought-stopping techniques, secondary gain and enables client to learn more
meditation, and physical exercise). Use role- adaptive/effective decision-making, problem-
modeling, positive reinforcement. solving, coping skills. (Refer to NDs:
Communication, impaired verbal;
Sensory/Perceptual alterations.)
Remain with the client and clarify reality. Assists the client to achieve effective coping. The
presence of a trusted individual can help client feel
protected from external dangers and maintain
contact with reality.
Involve client in planning treatment. Participation in treatment increases client’s sense
of control and provides opportunity to practice
problem-solving skills.
May Be Related to: Disturbed thought processes that result in mistrust of others/delusional thinking
Environmental deprivation, institutionalization (as a result of long-term hospitalization)
Possibly Evidenced by: Difficulty in establishing relationships with others; social withdrawal/isolation of self
Expressions of feelings of rejection
Dealing with problems using anger/hostility and violence
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Verbalize willingness to be involved with others.
Client Will: Participate in activities/programs with others.
Develop 1:1 trust-based relationship.

Assess presence/degree of isolation by listening to Mistrust can lead to difficulty in establishing
client’s comments about loneliness. relationships, and client may have withdrawn
from close contacts with others.
Spend time with client. Make brief, short interactions Establishes a trusting relationship. Consistent,
that communicate interest, concern, and caring. brief, honest contact with the nurse can help the
client begin to reestablish trusting interactions
with others.
Plan appropriate times for activities (by limiting Consistency in 1:1 relationship and sameness of
withdrawal, varying daily routine only as tolerated). milieu are required initially to enable client to
decrease withdrawn behavior. Motivation is
stimulated by the humanistic sharing of a 1:1
Assist client to participate in diversional activities With toleration of 1:1 relationship and
and limited/planned interaction situations with strengthened ego boundaries, client will be able to
others in group meeting/unit party, etc. increase socialization and enter small-group
situations. Brief encounters can help the client to
become more comfortable around others and
provide an opportunity to try out new social skills.
Identify support systems available to the client (e.g., Support is an important part of the client’s
family, friends, coworkers). rehabilitation, providing a network to assist in
social recovery.
Assess family relationships, communication patterns, Problems within family (poor social/relationship
knowledge of client condition. skills, high expressed emotion) may interfere with
client’s progress and indicate need for family
Note client’s sense of self-worth and belief about When client feels good about self and own value,
individual identity/role within milieu and setting. family interactions with others are enhanced.
(Refer to NDs: Self Esteem, chronic low/Role
Performance, altered/Personal Identity
Risk Factors May Include: Disintegration of thought and behavior
Perceptual impairment; sensory overload/deprivation
Psychomotor retardation; diminished muscle strength; impaired coordination and limited range of motion/total immobility
Psychomotor activity (occurring with chronicity or severity) varying from excited motor behavior to immobility
Possibly Evidenced by: [Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Maintain optimal mobility and muscle strength.
Client Will: Demonstrate awareness of the environment (psychomotor behavior) and capacity to regulate psychomotor activity.
Engage in physical activities.

Determine the level of impairment (rate from Provides information to determine the amount of
complete independence to dependence with social nursing assistance required and client potentials.
withdrawal) in relation to preillness capacity, Note the presence/severity of factors that affect
considering age, meaning (motivation, desire, the client’s level of mobility, such as psychotic
tolerance), onset, duration, coordination, range of functioning, control needs, sensory overload/
motion, muscle strength, and control. Measure deprivation. These factors need to be considered in
capacity for activity by observing endurance planning nursing care, as they can affect client’s
(attention span, psychomotor response, ability to perform activities.
appropriateness of participation).
Encourage client to identify need for/plan As psychotic functioning decreases, the capacity to
resumption of activities/exercise. relate to milieu/others and to self-initiate
increases. Involving client in scheduling activities
provides client with sense of independence
(control over environment).
Determine current activity level appropriate for Presence of psychotic features can cause
client by assessing attention span, capacity to mental/emotional withdrawal or agitation.
tolerate others in milieu.
Structure appropriate times for exercise/activity Movement reduces physiological deterioration.
(turning/moving unaffected body parts); monitor Environmental stimulation can be used to
environmental stimuli such as radio, TV, visitors. maintain/promote sensory-perceptual capacity.
Schedule adequate periods of rest/sleep. Monitor Establishing a regular sleep pattern helps client
client’s response and set limits as needed. become rested, reducing fatigue, and may improve
ability to think. When client is able to think more
clearly, participation in treatment program may be
NURSING DIAGNOSIS VIOLENCE, risk for directed at self/others
Risk Factors May Include: Disintegrated thought processes stemming from ambivalence and autistic thinking, hallucinations, delusions
Lack of development of trust and appropriate interpersonal relationships
[Possible Indicators:] Disintegrated behaviors
Perception of environmental and other stimuli/
cues as threatening
Physical aggression to self; irrational, threatening, or assaultive behavior
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Demonstrate self-control, as evidenced by relaxed
Client Will: posture, nonviolent behavior.
Resolve conflicts and/or cope with anxiety without the use of threats or assaultive behavior (to self or others).
Participate in care and meet own needs in an assertive manner.

Assess the presence/degree of client’s potential for Information essential for planning nursing care
violence (toward self or others) on a 1–10 scale. and documents degree of intent (may be no. 1
Determine suicidal/homicidal intent, indications nursing priority if score is high). Prior history of
of loss of control over behavior (actual or perceived), violent behavior increases risk for violence, as
hostile verbal/nonverbal behaviors, risk factors, would factors such as command hallucinations.
and prior/present coping skills.
Provide safe, quiet environment; tell client “you are Keeping environmental stimuli to a minimum and
safe.” providing reassurance will help prevent agitation.
Be careful in offering a pat on the shoulder/hug, etc. Touch may be misinterpreted as an aggressive
Encourage verbalizations of feelings and promote Ventilation of feelings may reduce need for
acceptable verbal outlet(s) for expression, e.g., inappropriate physical action.
yelling in room, pounding pillows.
Assist client to identify situations that trigger Promotes understanding of relationship between
anxiety/aggressive behaviors. severe anxiety and situations that result in
destructive feelings leading to aggressive actions.
Explore implications and consequences of handling Helps client realize the possibility and importance
these situations with aggression. of thinking through a situation before acting.
Help client define alternatives to aggressive Enables client to learn to handle situations in a
behaviors. Initially engage in solitary physical socially acceptable manner. Appropriate outlets
activities, instead of group. Monitor competitive will allow for release of hostility. Anxiety and fear
activities; use with caution. may escalate during activities in which the client
perceives self in competition with others and can
trigger violent behavior.
Set limits, stating in a clear, specific, firm manner Being clear and remaining calm increase chance
what is acceptable/unacceptable. Use demands only that client will cooperate, lessening potential for
when situation requires. violence. Having few but important limits
enhances chances of having them observed.
Be alert to signs of impending violent behavior: Promotes timely interventions as therapeutic
increase in psychomotor activity; intensity of affect; techniques are more effective before behavior
verbalization of delusional thinking, especially becomes violent.
threatening expressions; frightening hallucinations.
Accept verbal hostility without retaliation or defense. Behavior is not usually directed at nurse
Be aware of own response to client behavior (e.g., personally, and responding defensively will tend
anger/fear). to exacerbate situations. Looking at meaning
behind the words will be more productive.
Awareness of own response allows nurse to
express/deal with those feelings.
Isolate promptly in nonpunitive manner, using Removal to quiet environment reduces
adequate help if violent behavior occurs. Hold stimulation, can help calm client. Usually the
client. Tell client to STOP behavior. individual is being self-critical and afraid of own
hostility and does not need external criticism.
Sufficient help will prevent injury to client/staff.
Often holding client and/or saying “Stop” is
enough to help client regain control.
Place in seclusion, and/or apply restraints as May be needed for short-term control until client
indicated, documenting reasons for action. regains control over self.
Administer medications as indicated. (Refer to ND: Used to reduce psychotic symptoms, decrease
Thought Processes, altered.) delusional thinking, and assist client to regain control of self.
May Be Related to: Perceptual and cognitive impairment
Immobility resulting from social withdrawal, isolation, and decreased psychomotor activity
Autonomic nervous system side effects of psychotropic medications
Possibly Evidenced by: Inability/difficulty feeding self, keeping body clean, dressing appropriately, and/or toileting self
Bladder stasis/paralysis; urinary calculi formation
Decreased bowel activity with constipation, fecal impaction, and/or paralytic ileus
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Perform self-care and ADLs at highest level of
Client Will: adaptive functioning possible.
Recognize cues/maintain elimination patterns, preventing complications.
Identify/use resources available for assistance.

Determine current vs. preillness level of self-care Identifies potentials and determines degree of
(specify levels 0–4) for feeding, bathing/hygiene, nursing care to be provided.
dressing/grooming, toileting.
Assess presence/severity of factors that affect Impairment in these areas can alter client’s
client’s capacity for self-care (e.g., disintegrative ability/readiness for self-care.
perceptual/cognitive abilities, mobility status).
Discuss personal appearance/grooming and Appearance affects how the client sees self. A run-
encourage dressing in bright colors, attractive down, disheveled appearance conveys a sense of
clothes. Give positive feedback for efforts. low self-worth, whereas an attractive, well-put-
together appearance conveys a positive sense of
self to the client as well as to others.
Determine client’s regular elimination patterns and Identifies appropriate interventions, as patterns of
compare with current pattern. Monitor oral intake. elimination are individually influenced by
Note contributing factors (e.g., anxiety, decreased physiological (including amount of intake),
attention span, disorientation, reduced psychomotor cultural, and psychological factors. These factors
activity, as well as use of psychotropic medications). can affect toileting (e.g., client does not pay
attention to cues; dehydration from inadequate
intake results in lessened urinary output and
contributes to constipation; anticholinergic effect
of medication may result in urinary retention).
Encourage/provide diet high in fiber and at least 2 A diet high in fiber and residue promotes bulk
liters of fluid each day. Encourage/structure formation and at least 2 liters of fluid daily
appropriate times for intake. (Refer to ND: Nutrition, regulates stool consistency (facilitating bowel
altered, less/more than body requirements.) elimination) and renal function. Scheduling
of intake provides for an accurate record and
helps to ensure that adequate amounts are
Monitor mental status, vital signs, weight, skin Careful monitoring and early recognition of
turgor; presence of medication interactions/side symptoms can prevent complications of
effects. inadequate fluid intake (e.g., orthostatic
hypotension, reduced circulating volume which
directly affects cerebral perfusion/mentation,
increased risk of tissue breakdown).
Observe/record urinary output as appropriate. Note Bladder paralysis/retention can occur from
changes in color, odor, clarity. Encourage client to psychotropic medications, increasing risk of
observe/report changes. infection. Note: Polyuria is a frequent side effect of
Provide regular intervals for toileting. A schedule prevents accidents that can occur due
to polyuria from psychotropic medication or
decreased attentiveness to cues and psychomotor
Increase daily activity level as client progresses. Adequate exercise increases muscle tone;
consistency in daily routine stimulates bowel
Plan with client for effective use of community Assists client to develop an effective plan for
resources, such as nutritional programs, sheltered hygienic/self-care needs and promotes maximum
workshops, group/transitional/apartment homes, level of independence.
home care services.
Administer laxatives/stool softeners, as indicated. Used cautiously for brief period or as needed to
enhance bowel function. Note: Overuse can
promote dependency.
NURSING DIAGNOSIS NUTRITION: altered, less/more than body requirements
May Be Related to: Imbalance between energy needs and intake
Disintegration of thought and perception
Inability/refusal to eat
Possibly Evidenced by: Delusions or hallucinations related to food intake
Reported dysfunctional eating patterns (e.g., eating in response to internal cues other than hunger; increased appetite [side effect of some psychotropic medications])
Weight loss/gain
Sore, inflamed buccal cavity
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Maintain adequate/appropriate nutritional intake.
Client Will: Demonstrate progressive weight gain/loss toward agreed-upon goal.
Identify behaviors/lifestyle changes to maintain appropriate weight.

Assess presence/severity of factors that create Factors such as psychotic thinking or excessive
altered nutritional intake. activity to prevent frightening thoughts may cause inability/refusal to eat.
Review dietary intake via 24-hour recall/diary Provides accurate information for assessment of
noting eating pattern and activity level. client’s nutritional status and needs. Alterations in
dietary intake (decreased/increased calories, salt,
fats, sugars) can aid in correcting faulty eating
patterns. Lack of knowledge of appropriate dietary
needs, perception of food, and activity/exercise
(immobility) results in improper caloric intake.
Encourage client to regulate caloric intake with A balance between activity and caloric intake
activity/exercise program. maintains weight loss/gain, improves nutritional status, and can enhance mental functioning.
Structure consistent times for eating and limit use Positively reinforces client’s appropriate eating
of food for other than nutritional needs. behaviors. Limits behaviors (rituals, acting out)
that allow client to withdraw/refuse meals or
overeat. Secondary gains that may occur can be
reduced by setting appropriate expectations.
Provide small, frequent feedings as indicated. May enhance intake when psychotic
thought/behavior interferes with eating.
Encourage client to choose own foods, when Individual is more likely to eat chosen food than
possible. what has been arbitrarily given to him or her,
especially when paranoid thoughts of poisoning
are present.
Assess presence/severity of factors that affect Altered nutrition can cause dehydration, edema,
client’s oral mucous membranes. Identify strategies oral lesions, or altered salivation, which can
to relieve to minimize irritation, such as rinsing adversely affect/restrict intake. With relief of dry
with water, chewing sugarless gum/candy or mouth, client’s anxiety is reduced and nutritional
glycerin-based cough drops, drinking lemonade, intake enhanced.
and mouth care before and after meals.
Arrange consultation with dietitian/nutritional May be necessary to establish/meet individual
team, as indicated. dietary needs.
NURSING DIAGNOSIS FAMILY PROCESSES, altered/family coping, ineffective: disabling
May Be Related to: Ambivalent family system/relationships; change of roles
Difficulty family members have in coping effectively with client’s maladaptive behaviors
Possibly Evidenced by: Deterioration in family functioning; ineffective family decision-making process
Failure to adapt to change/deal with crisis in a constructive manner and meet needs of its members
Difficulty in relating to each other for mutual growth/development; failure to send/receive clear messages.
Extreme distortion regarding client’s health problem, including extreme denial about its existence/severity or prolonged overconcern
Client’s expressions of despair at family’s lack of reaction/involvement; neglectful relationships with client
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Express feelings appropriately, honestly, and
Family Will: openly.
Demonstrate improvement in communications (clear), problem-solving, behavior control, and affective spheres of family functioning.
Verbalize realistic perception of roles within limits of individual situation.
Encourage and allow member who is ill to handle situation in own way.

Determine current and preillness level of family Provides information about client and family to
functioning. Note factors such as problem-solving assist in developing plan of care and choosing
skills, level of this interpersonal relationships, interventions. These factors affect the family’s
outside support systems, roles, boundaries, rules, capacity for returning to precrisis level of adaptive
and communications. functioning as well as set the tone/expectations for
a favorable prognosis. Note: Some family members
may demonstrate psychopathologies that may
make their influence detrimental to the client.
Determine whether family is high in expressed The emotional climate of the client’s family has
emotion (e.g., criticism, disappointment, hostility, been shown to significantly affect the client’s
solicitude, extreme worry, overprotectiveness, or recovery. Relapse is associated with the expression
emotional over-involvement). of certain feelings in specific ways rather than
emotional openness itself. Relapse occurs
significantly more often in families with a high
degree of expressed emotion (EE), especially
criticism and hostility. Note: Some studies suggest
EE may be more a response to the client’s bizarre
behavior, rather than a family trait, and may lessen
as the condition persists and the family becomes
used to the symptoms.
Provide opportunity for family members to discuss Feelings of guilt, shame, isolation; loss of
feelings, impact of disorder on family, and hopes/expectations regarding client; and concerns
individual concerns. for personal and client safety have an impact on
family’s ability to manage crisis and support
client. Chronic nature of condition, with a wide
range of socially, emotionally, and intellectually
disabling symptoms that come and go
unpredictably, can exhaust family physically,
emotionally, and financially. The disproportionate
allocation of resources can create deep feelings of
resentment and family conflict as time and energy
are focused on the client to the possible exclusion
of the needs of other family members, and
monetary expenses may restrict the family
members’ ability to take vacations, go to college, or
even consider retirement.
Assess readiness of family members/significant Family theorists believe that the “identified
other(s) to participate in client’s treatment. patient” also represents disintegrated/enmeshed
schizophrenogenic family system. Aftercare of
client must include family/SO(s) to raise level of
interpersonal functioning.
Provide honest information about the nature and The family that already has maladaptive coping
seriousness of the disorder and enlist cooperation of skills may have difficulty dealing with diagnosis
family members to help client to remain in the and implications of a long-term illness. Client’s
community. behavior may be difficult and embarrassing for
some families who have problematic coping skills
or have a high profile in the community.
Promote family involvement with nurses/others to Involvement with others provides a role model for
plan care and activities. individuals to learn new behaviors/ways of
handling stress, and problem-solving.
Help client/family/SO(s) to identify maladaptive Client’s success in treatment depends on effective
behaviors and consequences. Support efforts for change of whole systems rather than treatment of
change. client’s behaviors as a separate entity.
Establish/encourage ongoing open communication Promotes healthy interaction, allows for timely
within the family. problem-solving, and maintains effective
Help family identify potential for growth of family Family that has previously functioned well has
system and individual members. Role-model skills to build on and can learn new ways of
positive behaviors during this process. dealing with changed family structure and
challenges of marginally functioning family
member. The nurse can provide an example for
learning new skills.
Assess readiness of the family/SO(s) to reintegrate Ability to tolerate and assist with management of
client into system, such as family’s ability to use client behavior affects client’s reentry into the
assistance or to cope with crisis appropriately by family system.
adaptation or change.
Promote family involvement in behavioral manage- Helps family members to realize that, although
ment programs. Discuss negative aspects of blame they can have a positive or negative influence on
and ways to avoid its use. the course of the illness, they are doing the best
they can in a difficult situation, and
communication/problem-solving skills can
be learned to reduce stress. Blaming themselves
or the client is counterproductive, and it is
more important to talk about individual
Encourage family to participate in family education, Multiple stressors, labile nature of disorder, lack of
therapy, community support groups. definitive treatment options, or lack of resolution
of condition increases likelihood of family conflict,
disorganization, and even dissolution. Providing
the family with information about the disorder;
showing them how to help the client, without
neglecting family members’ needs; and better
ways to communicate with one another and with
the client; as well as training family to identify and
solve problems as they arise—enhances family’s
coping abilities and may lessen the client’s risk of
Promote involvement with mental health treatment When bizarre behavior is difficult for family to
team (e.g., mental health center, family physician/ manage, assistance/support may enhance coping
psychiatrist, psychiatric/public health nurse, social/ abilities, improve the situation, and provide
vocational services, occupational/physical therapist), opportunity for individual growth, thereby
and respite care, when necessary. strengthening the family unit. Having the
opportunity to take time away from the situation
enhances the family’s ability to manage the client’s
long-term illness.
Provide client/family/SO(s) with assistance to deal Aftercare may include efforts to enlarge social
with current life situation (e.g., therapy [family/ spheres and increase client’s/family’s level of
couples/1:1]; aftercare services including day-care functioning, enhancing ability to manage long-
centers, night hospitals, halfway houses, sheltered term illness and enabling the client to remain in
workshops, rehabilitation services). the community.
May Be Related to: Impaired perception, cognition, communication skills, and individual coping skills
Inadequate developmental task accomplishment; lack of knowledge
Inability or lack of cooperation
Lower socioeconomic group with limited resources
Impaired or diminished family functioning
Possibly Evidenced by: Mistrust, lack of autonomy, and disturbed capacity for relationship formation
Impairment of personal support system (e.g., family conflict/disorganization)
Decreased capacity to identify and mobilize adequate support systems and maintain a safe, growth-promoting immediate environment
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Maintain optimal health and family functioning
Client Will: through improved communications and coping skills.
Return home and maintain optimal wellness with minimal complications.
Identify and use resources effectively.
Compare present and preillness level of home/ Dysfunction in family (diminished problem-
health maintenance. Consider deficits in solving, poor financial management/inadequate
communication, knowledge, decision-making, resources, and ineffective support system;
developmental tasks, and support systems and emotional impoverishment) and lack of
their effect on client’s basic health practices. motivation to participate in treatment can impair
Assist client/family to identify appropriate Poor organizational capacity for ADLs and
healthcare needs/practices (e.g., dental, socialization as well as personal involvement can
physician/clinic, regular hygiene practices, as lead to neglect of these areas and provides
well as some social contacts). opportunity for nurse to assess capacity
for/compliance with home/health management
Involve client/SO(s) in the development of a long- Involvement increases the potential for
term plan for optimal home health management, cooperation with the plan.
encouraging identification/use of resources.
Provide referrals to community resources Ineffective coping requires support/
(e.g., medical/dental clinics, transportation teaching, which often necessitates referrals.
assistance, sheltered living center, Legal assistance may be required to provide
legal services). conservatorships and client advocacy.
May Be Related to: Ego boundary disintegration; inability to distinguish between self and environment
Weakened sexual identification; gender identity confusion, which interferes with normal sexual orientation formation
Development of delusions around the primitive sexual orientation
Lack of drive and energy, normal social inhibitions, and passivity
Possibly Evidenced by: Uninhibited sexual behavior; involvement in multiple sexual liaisons
Preoccupation with sex or gender identity
Inability to find sexual partner
Endocrine changes associated with antipsychotic drugs (e.g., ejaculatory inhibitions, impotence in men/amenorrhea in women, decreased libido)
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Strengthen ego boundaries to enable
Client Will: identification and acceptance of sexual orientation.
Verbalize understanding of, identify, and report changes in body functions (if they occur) while taking antipsychotic medications.
Demonstrate behavioral restraint in public.
Identify and use individually effective birth control method.
Practice safer sex.

Have client describe own perceptions of sexuality/ When concerns and perceptions are shared, it
sexual functioning. provides an opportunity to understand the client’s
point of view, identify individual needs, and
clarify misconceptions.
Determine presence/degree of factors that alter Ego boundary disintegration can cause regressive
sexuality/sexual functioning. behavior (withdrawal, preoccupation with self),
which interferes with the formation of attachments
and creates gender identity confusion.
Antipsychotic medications can cause endocrine
changes (amenorrhea, lactation in women; and
impotence, ejaculatory inhibition, gynecomastia in
Provide information regarding medications, their Lack of sufficient knowledge may be a
effects and regulation, and counseling/teaching contributing factor to the dysfunction.
about problem-solving (expressing feelings of loss
and seeking alternate solutions).
Encourage client to identify/report any alterations Timely intervention may prevent future
in sexuality/sexual functioning. disintegration of ego boundaries and further side
effects of medications.
Counsel client about birth control, genetic Severely ill clients have difficulty with
implications of having children. relationships and do not make good partners or
parents. Although higher-functioning clients may
find marriage supportive, they need to be aware
that each child has a 12%–15% chance of
developing schizophrenia. Premarital expert
eugenic counseling is extremely important.
Identify “safer sex” practices and discuss risk of The lack of social inhibitions (multiple partners,
contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). unprotected sex) places these clients at risk for the
possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted
disease, and a poor level of functioning may result
in neglect of treatment.
NURSING DIAGNOSIS KNOWLEDGE deficit [LEARNING NEED] regarding condition, prognosis, and treatment needs/THERAPEUTIC REGIMEN: Individual, ineffective management of
May Be Related to: Cognitive limitation (altered thought process/psychosis)
Misinterpretation/inaccurate information; unfamiliarity with information resources
Chronic nature of the disorder
Possibly Evidenced by: Ambivalence and dependency strivings
Inappropriate or exaggerated behaviors; need-fear dilemma and withdrawal (can lead to abrupt termination of therapy, medication)
Inaccurate follow-through of instructions; appearance of side effects of psychotropic medications
Desired Outcomes/Evaluation Criteria— Verbalize understanding of disorder and
Client/SO(s) Will: treatment.
Participate in learning process/treatment regimen.
Assume responsibility for own learning within individual abilities.

Determine the current level of knowledge about the Identifies areas of need and misperceptions.
disorder and its management. Communication skills such as validation of
perceptions can assist in assessment of accuracy of
client’s/SO(s) knowledge base and readiness to
Assess the presence/severity of factors that affect Factors such as disintegrated thinking, cognitive
client’s cognitive framework for decision-making deficits, ambivalence, denial, and dependency
about disorder and management, noting lack of needs can limit learning/block use of knowledge
recall, and ignorance of resources and their use. for management of disorder.
Instruct client/family about disorder, its signs and Provides information and can promote
symptoms, management (medication, ADLs, independent behaviors within client’s ability.
vocational rehabilitation, socialization needs).
Identify/review side effects of medications client The anticholinergic effects of psychotropics (and
is taking (e.g., sedation, postural hypotension, antiparkinsonian drugs that may be given
photosensitivity, hormonal effects, agranulocytosis, concomitantly to decrease the incidence of
and extrapyramidal symptoms [tremors, akinesia/ extrapyramidal effects of neuroleptics) alter
akathisia, dystonia, oculogyric crisis, and tardive autonomic nervous system functioning and may
dyskinesia]). cause dry mouth (xerostomia), oral lesions, or
hemorrhagic gingivitis. Most side effects occur
within the first few weeks of treatment and
subside with time. However, signs indicative of
adverse reactions such as agranulocytosis (sore
throat, fever, malaise), extrapyramidal symptoms,
and tardive dyskinesia need immediate attention.
Encourage measures such as frequent mouth care, Reduces oval cavity discomfort associated with
chewing sugarless gum or sucking on hard effects of medication. Note: Omit gum/hard candy
(sugarless) candy, and drinking lemonade. for aged client when danger of choking is present
(e.g., phenothiazines alter the swallowing reflex).
Emphasize importance of immediate medical Severe muscle stiffness and high fever are the
attention for onset of high fever and severe muscle hallmarks of neuroleptic malignant syndrome,
stiffness and discontinuation of the medication until which can usually be effectively treated before it
able to consult with healthcare provider. becomes life threatening if it is detected early.
Have individuals verbalize/paraphrase knowledge Evaluates comprehension of information
gained. regarding disorder’s characteristics and
management needs and may reduce recidivism.
Assist the client to develop strategies for continuing Understanding that feeling better is no indication
treatment. Make contract with client to provide for for discontinuing medication, that no addiction can
actions to take when problems arise. develop with continued treatment, and that
providing for self-administration often enhances
cooperation with therapeutic regimen.
Discuss importance of, and establish schedule for, Monitoring of client’s behavior (e.g., medication
follow-up/postdischarge care. usage, socialization, vocation, exercise, and diet)
helps to determine appropriateness of therapy,
problem-solve identified needs, reduce risk of
Identify appropriate therapies and community Promotes trusting relationships and encourages
support systems to meet individual needs. further cooperation with treatment plan. Adequate
management plans and organizing social supports
for the family enable these clients to remain in the

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