Social interaction

Nursing Diagnosis and Care Plan for Impaired Social Interaction-A Student’s Guide


Impaired social interaction is a common symptom of many mental illnesses. This article will provide an overview of nursing diagnosis and care plans for impaired social interaction and the related symptoms, causes, and treatments, and is meant to guide nursing students.

This article will also offer tips on how to improve your patient’s functioning when they are experiencing impaired social interactions. Finally, this post discusses how you can use this information to best care for your patients who have impaired interpersonal relationships.

As you read, keep in mind that our top writers are ready to help in case you get stuck or cannot complete your nursing assignment due to other reasons such as a busy schedule. All you need to do is place an order with us!

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.

Conditions that may cause impaired social interaction

  • Schizophrenia
  • Dementia
  • Autism

These three are mental health disorders that cause impaired social interaction. When diagnosing a patient, it is important to order the correct diagnostic tests and spend time with your patients so that you can give them an accurate diagnosis. Some of the more common ones are listed below:


Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that causes the sufferer to be unable to make sense of the world around them and often causes impaired social interaction. There are different types of schizophrenia.

Types of schizophrenia:

  1. Paranoid type
  2. Disorganized type
  3. Disorganized type
  4. Catatonic type
  5. Undifferentiated type
  6. Residual type

Causes of Schizophrenia:

It is not known what exactly causes schizophrenia. There are different theories as to what the cause of this mental illness is.

  • Some researchers believe abnormalities may cause schizophrenia in brain structure and function.
  • Some also believe that a combination of genetic vulnerability and environmental factors may be the causes of the illness.
  • And finally, others suggest stress may trigger the onset of schizophrenia in people who are vulnerable to the illness.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

When reviewing the symptoms of schizophrenia, it is important to note that patients usually exhibit a combination of positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms.

As a nurse, it is important to know that these symptoms are usually present over time (typically at least a month).

The positive symptoms of schizophrenia:

  1. Delusions
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Disorganized speech (word salad)
  4. Grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour

Negative Symptoms:

  1. Emotional flat affect alogia motivation
  2. Social withdrawal
  3. Lack of spontaneity
  4. Lack of speech

Cognitive Symptoms:

  1. Sufferers may be unable to focus their attention or concentrate
  2. Patients might have problems with word-finding
  3. Memory loss
  4. Difficulty in problem-solving
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Treatment of Schizophrenia:

There are two main types of treatment for schizophrenia:

  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychosocial treatments

Pharmacological Treatments – these treatments usually include antipsychotic medications. This is the first line of treatment that should be implemented for schizophrenia. To be effective, these medications need to be administered daily.

Psychosocial Treatments: These treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy, family education, and training and support groups. Ideally, the patient with schizophrenia should have a team evaluation from a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, and social worker to assist in the treatment planning.


Dementia is an acquired condition characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive functioning, including memory, reasoning, and judgment, that interferes with daily life. -(WebMD)

Types of Dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vascular dementia causes may include strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • Lewy body dementia causes may include Parkinson’s disease or brain trauma.
  • Frontotemporal dementia causes may include various genetic disorders, including tauopathies and single-gene mutations, or it can be caused by environmental factors.

Causes of Dementia:

Just like schizophrenia, the exact causes of dementia are not known. However, genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices can be the cause of this mental disorder. These are some of the habits that may lead to the progression of this disease.

  1. Drinking alcohol
  2. Smoking cigarettes
  3. Indulgence in other drugs.

Signs and symptoms of Dementia

Although there are different types of illness, they can share similar symptoms.

  1. Memory loss in any aspect (short-term memory, long-term memory)
  2. Inability to carry out functional tasks
  3. Disorientation in time and space
  4. Personality changes (this may include mood swings or loss of motivation)
  5. Mood alterations/ Depression and/or apathy
  6. Difficulty communicating with others
  7. Lack of interest in things the person used to enjoy (anhedonia)
  8. Physical Changes – changes in hygiene, weight loss

Treatment of Dementia

There are no medications that can cure dementia. Treatment is focused on managing symptoms to improve quality of life.

Medication – in some cases, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may help with behavioural problems. They can also be helpful for lack of sleep that may be a result of dementia.

These drugs, however, do not stop the progression of the illness. There are also many side effects related to these medications. Because of this, they may not be an option for everyone.

Advance Care Plan: The type of treatment depends on the type and severity of dementia. If a person can still live independently with assistance from caregivers or get help from other family members, they can remain at home.

However, if a person has become disabled or is suffering from behavioural problems that could put them in danger, they may need to be moved into an assisted living facility.

If a person’s condition worsens and they become unable to recognize their family members, it would probably be best for the patient to be placed in hospice.

Prevention of Dementia

Dietary changes: A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent dementia. Eating good quality foods and following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables might help with this disease.

Physical activity: Some studies have found that physically active people in midlife may have a lower risk of developing dementia late in life.


Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that can impair social interaction, language, and communication skills and cause repetitive behaviours. It affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That number is up from 1 in 150 children 20 years ago. This increase may be explained by a greater awareness of autism and the availability of diagnostic tools. Still, it is likely that it also reflects an actual increase in the prevalence of ASD.

Causes of autism:

Genetics and environmental factors like chemicals in the environment or viruses can take place during early brain development. For example, the rubella virus is known to cause birth defects when it infects the developing fetus.

The CDC estimates that about 1% of all births have a child affected by autism, while as many as 4 to 5% of children with developmental disabilities have some form of ASD.

Signs and symptoms of Autism:

Children and adults with autism often showcase different signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms may include:

  1. Trouble communicating their needs or wants to others
  2. Difficulty in understanding what others are feeling and thinking. For example, they may not make eye contact when talking with someone, speak in a monotone voice, avoid hugging or kissing people on the cheek, or seem indifferent about being held.
  3. Trouble interacting socially with others. This can include avoiding eye contact or focusing on a single object rather than playing with other children.
  4. Adults may have a problem moving, climbing, or balancing. Difficulty in doing these affects activities of daily living (including toileting, walking, dressing, and eating)
  5. Problems in the way they act. For example, rocking to self-calm, twirling objects, or spinning in place.

Disease management and treatment

Treatment of autism is not a cure for autism. But it can aid people on the spectrum learn how to better function and cope with their condition. Treatment of autistic clients may include:

  1. Assistive devices like sensory boards, which can be used to help with daily activities like dressing; lighting switches that light up when touched, and even pillows designed to provide pressure and comfort to those who like to squeeze objects
  2. Activities that help people with autism develop social and communication skills. This can be archived by using picture books to practice conversation skills or playing at home with dolls or stuffed animals.
  3. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): This type of therapy is used to treat autism among children. This is where the parents are trained to supervise their child’s behaviour properly.
  4. Many children who have autism receive services in a setting outside of the home. For example, educational programs at public schools or early intervention centers. Social skills groups at community-based agencies are another way to archive this. Medical and mental health services through licensed providers and personal assistance at adult daycare centers.

Care Plan: Impaired Social Interaction

Step 1: History and physical exam; document diagnosis, and symptoms, including observable behaviours during the interview such as facial expression and gestures, etc.

Step 2: Determine an individual’s needs by assessing their level of impairment and considering the patient’s strengths, support group, and the environment in which they will be living.

Step 3: Therapy options: Often, this involves educating patients and their families about the disease process. Limitations that may need to be modified at home or at work, and treatment strategies are some of the data that these individuals need to be enlightened on.

This includes normalizing behaviour changes by teaching them to understand what is happening to their loved ones. Remember, when family members better understand the cognitive and behavioural changes occurring in the patient, they are more able to recognize these behaviours are part of the disease process. This will help them not to think maybe the patient is just showcasing laziness or willful behaviour.

For patients who live alone with dementia, programs such as adult daycare centers may be beneficial for daytime supervision. If the patient spends time at the daycare, this will help reduce the risk of wandering.

Step 4: Nursing Diagnosis and care plan for impaired social interaction: The nursing diagnosis may be influenced by three major factors. These factors are

  • Physical
  • Psychological or spiritual assessments
  • The cultural background of the patient.

Based on those findings, you can select an appropriate nursing diagnosis that describes a problem or area of concern.

The care plan will outline the main problem identified in the nursing diagnosis and how it might be resolved. This may include more frequent or longer visits with patients to help monitor changes or a need for additional medical or non-medical testing to evaluate symptoms and treatment responses.

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