Nursing Interventions Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects 1 in every 100 people worldwide. More than 2 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and it affects men and women equally. Schizophrenia occurs when there’s a break from reality due to hallucinations, delusions or disorganized speech patterns. People suffering from schizophrenia may also experience flat affect (non-expressive facial expression), social isolation, apathy and loss of motivation. This can make it hard for them to complete daily tasks such as bathing or eating—and even harder for loved ones who must care for them. However, nurses can help patients with schizophrenia by working closely with their doctors to develop an individualized treatment plan based on each person’s unique needs.

Nursing Interventions Schizophrenia

1. Take measure to prevent self-injury and harm to others

If you are caring for a person who is at risk of hurting themselves or others, it’s important to use all the tools available. A safety plan is a written document that outlines specific strategies and resources to assist with reducing the risk of harm. It should be updated regularly as clinical conditions change.

It may include:

  • Safety signals—verbal or non-verbal cues used by the patient/client as an indication that they are becoming unwell, need help from staff (e.g., if they start rocking their body)
  • Safety cord—a length of fabric or ribbon which can be worn around the wrist with a loop hanging down over the hand; if pulled by the client it triggers an alarm that alerts staff members so they can quickly respond
  • Netting systems—to protect both staff and clients from being injured should someone fall out of bed or off furniture into other areas such as corridors where there are no beds present; such nets also provide containment when treating patients/clients who have attempted self-harm again but haven’t succeeded in harming anyone else

2. Encourage patient to comply with treatment recommendations

It is important to emphasize that it is the patient who determines treatment compliance. Nurses can assist patients in complying with treatment recommendations and encourage them to do so by providing encouragement and positive reinforcement.

The nurse may use the following techniques:

  • Goal-setting: Setting goals for self-care activities increases motivation for patients who are noncompliant or resistant to change. This can help improve adherence to medications or other interventions that require patient effort.
  • Reinforcement: The nurse may reinforce positive behavior by giving a verbal reward, praise or acknowledgment of progress made during therapy sessions or care plan implementation. Rewards should be tailored according to individual needs and preferences; some examples include watching television, playing video games or listening to music during treatment periods where medication is being administered at home (Keck et al., 2012).

3. Monitor patient for side effects of antipsychotic medication

When you are monitoring a patient for side effects of antipsychotic medication, you will want to be sure that they are not experiencing any of the following:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sedation or restlessness
  • Muscle spasms or tremors
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness (vertigo) *Drowsiness *Fatigue

4. Schedule frequent breaks throughout the day for rest and relaxation

The Importance of Taking Breaks

Nurses are often faced with the task of not only caring for a patient, but also keeping them safe while they do it. While this can be an important responsibility and require intense focus at times, it is essential that you take regular breaks throughout the day in order to keep your mind fresh and focused on your work.

When taking breaks, make sure that you plan ahead so that you can get away from your patient without losing track of time or missing important information. The best way to do this is by scheduling breaks into your schedule; it will help ensure that they happen regularly throughout the day and provide much-needed rest for yourself as well as any other members involved in caregiving duties (if there are any).

5. Help the patient complete personal care activities as necessary

Personal hygiene is a vital part of staying healthy and active. It helps you prevent illness and disease as well as maintain your physical and mental health.

  • Bathing: Nurses help patients bathe and shower when they cannot do these activities on their own. They also provide assistance with maintaining good hygiene while in the shower or tub such as keeping hair dry and checking skin for signs of infection or irritation.
  • Dressing: A nurse may be asked to assist with dressing if the patient has any difficulties due to inability, pain level, or cognitive impairment that prevents this task from being completed by themselves or family members alone without assistance from someone else who knows how it should be done correctly (and safely). This includes helping them put on clothes, socks/stockings; shoes; belts; jewelry like watches & necklaces; anything else that needs putting on/taking off each day including jackets hats etcetera

6. Instruct the patient to keep appointments with mental health professional

  • Instruct the patient to keep appointments with mental health professional.
  • Be sure to state that it is important for the patient’s well-being to follow up with a mental health professional, as well as keeping his or her appointments.
  • Consider asking your client if he or she has any questions about how best to keep these appointments and what will happen in them. If you feel comfortable doing so, offer an explanation of how it works: “You should see Dr. Jones once a week.” (Note: You may want to avoid using this type of language with someone who is experiencing psychosis.)
  • Offer assistance if needed when making arrangements for transportation or scheduling appointments.

7. Provide a safe environment, limiting access to sharp objects, toxic chemicals, and other potentially dangerous items

Provide a safe environment, limiting access to sharp objects, toxic chemicals, and other potentially dangerous items

A safe environment is an important intervention for patients with schizophrenia. Safe environments can be achieved by:

  • Limiting access to sharp objects such as knives and scissors
  • Limiting access to toxic chemicals such as bleach or gasoline/petrol (gas)
  • Limiting access to other potentially dangerous items such as matches

8. Things nurses can do for patients with schizophrenia

If a patient with schizophrenia has been diagnosed and is being treated, there are things that you can do to help them live a normal life.

  • The nurse can help the patient get a job.
  • The nurse can help the patient get a home.
  • The nurse can help the patient get a car.


The above interventions can be used to help patients with schizophrenia. Nurses should keep in mind that this is a serious mental illness and interacting with the patient will require careful consideration on their part. It is important for nurses to understand what they are dealing with so they can provide adequate treatment and care.

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