Disturbed Body Image Nursing Diagnosis & Care Plan

Disturbed Body Image Nursing Diagnosis and Care Plan

Related Factors

  • Trauma 
  • Surgery 
  • Amputation 
  • Equipment, tubes, drains 
  • Eating disorder 
  • Obesity 
  • Weight loss
  • Pregnancy

Subjective Data: patient’s feelings, perceptions, and concerns. (Symptoms)

  • Verbalizes negative feelings about bodily changes 
  • Reports fear of rejection by others
  • Talks about the affected body part 
  • Talks negatively about physical change or body part 

Objective Data: assessment, diagnostic tests, and lab values. (Signs)

  • Refusal to talk about physical changes 
  • Hiding of affected body part 
  • Verbal detachment from physical change 
  • Missing body part 
  • Does not look at the body part 
  • Does not touch the body part 
  • Self-isolation 
  • Refuses to participate in teaching sessions to become accustomed to the new situation.

Expected Outcome 

  • The patient will use learned coping strategies to adjust to a new reality 
  • The patient will recognize self-sabotage and accept help 
  • The patient will identify irrational beliefs and use new coping strategies to enhance perception about body image. 

Nursing Assessment 

Assess the patient’s perception of body image. 

The answer reveals the patient’s feelings and point of view about the changes. The nurse can now focus on that insecurity and use it as a starting point when working on improving body image. 

Assess the patient’s level of acceptance. 

The patient’s attitude towards their new situations makes a significant difference. 

Assess how the change affects different areas of life. 


The nurse may adjust the plan of care and include areas that are affected. Resources can facilitate transitions into new roles and help adapt to new situations. 

Assess the patient’s support system. 

Family members and caregivers can make temporary and permanent changes much more manageable and predictable. 

Consider the patient’s age and history. 

Children and adolescents will react differently than adults to body changes. Each person’s individual life experiences are significant to note to understand their current perceptions. The more the nurse can understand the patient’s view, the better strategies can be implemented to help the patient. 

Note the patient’s reactions, behaviors, and remarks about the changed body part or function. 

Reactions can vary from totally ignoring the change to grieving or being preoccupied with it. The patient’s particular response will guide strategies of the care plan to improve body image and self-esteem. 

Nursing Interventions for Disturbed Body Image 

Encourage the patient to express feelings about body changes. 

This is a form of coping strategy that starts the healing process. Sharing their feelings provides excellent insight into the patient’s insecurities and helps the nurse in individualizing care.

Praise the patient every time he or she is cooperative and willing to participate in care. 

Positive reinforcement promotes self-esteem and motivates the patient to continue care. 

Assist the patient with learning new ways of performing ADLs and other necessary lifestyle changes. 

Many different aspects of the patient’s life might be affected. Job, family roles, independence, and other areas might be different now.  Positive reinforcement and support may help with motivation and accelerate the transitioning process. 

Explain the effects of medications or treatment that might be the cause of alterations of the body. 

Medications, such as steroids, or treatments such as chemotherapy can alter appearance. Discussing the importance of the therapy and educating about possible body image changes beforehand might make it easier to cope. 

Provide resources, such as a list of support groups. 

Patients may benefit from exchanging experiences, feelings, and thoughts with people going through the same hardships. 

Involve a specialist in the care. 

Specialists, such as ostomy nurses or wound care nurses, can facilitate the transitioning process and promote confidence.

Encourage the patient in self-care with a step-by-step approach. 

This approach allows the patient to become used to the altered body part or function without overwhelming the patient. 

Advise the patient to focus on remaining abilities.

Strengthening skills can boost the patient’s confidence and distract from feelings of loss

Patient Teaching 

Assure the patient of the normalcy of his or her feelings and emotions. 

The patient goes through a phase of grieving that is normal. Reassurance of that behavior may be comforting for the patient and promotes a normal healing process. 

Assist the patient in identifying coping strategies. 

Coping strategies that have worked in the past might not be as effective anymore. Finding new coping methods is essential in the transitioning process. 

Teach the patient about how to care for the changed body part or function. 

Knowledge and skills about the care in the altered body part or function increases independence and confidence

Involve family members and caregivers in routine care. 

Family and caregivers have to be involved to ensure proper continuity of care after discharge. 

Encourage the patient and family to ask questions. 

Knowledge about the altered body part or function promotes confidence in family and caregivers and promotes safety. 

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