Social isolation is the lack of interaction with other people and society as a whole. This state of aloneness can be intentional or unintentional. If the absence of any social contact is not on purpose, the affected individual might experience loneliness and other negative feelings.
Nursing Diagnosis: Social Isolation…
- Impaired cognition such as Alzheimer’s disease
- Psychological disorders
- Terminal illness
- Physical limitations/ impairment
Common Signs & Symptoms …. (evidenced by)
- Flat affect
- Impaired social interaction
- Previous diagnoses of mental or physical disorders
- Expression of feeling lonely and lack of social interaction
- Expression of self-doubt and lack of self-worth
- Difficulty in engaging in a conversation
- Lack of support
- Patient will seek appropriate treatment for underlying factors causing social isolation
- Patient will acquire social skills to interact with society
- Patient will express the feeling of increased self-worth and appear more confident
- Patient will practice communication skills to improve social interactions
|Subjective Data: Your patient might state…|
… that he or she does not have many friends and does not go outside very much
…that his or her social life changed since a new life-changing diagnosis
…that he or she has difficulty to engage in conversations and feels stressed and exhausted during social interactions
….that he or she feels rejected and misunderstood
|Objective data: your assessment and other data might show…|
…that the patient has a previous history of mental illness (such as depression)
…that the patient has physical or mental disabilities that make social contact more difficult
…that the patient appears to have difficulty uphold a conversation and seems withdrawn.
Nursing Interventions for Social Isolation
|Assess the patient’s feelings and perceptions about the situation.|
The patient’s point of view provides a baseline for establishing the plan of care. It gives an insight into whether the patient thinks that he or she has control over the situation and wants to be alone or if the situation is not within the client’s control.
|Assess for cognitive and physical deficits that interfere with socializing.|
Determining these factors that cause patients to isolate provides a starting point. Some reasons, such as age, disease, or other conditions, are out of the patient’s control. Nurses have to address these medical conditions in the care plan. This ensures the best possible treatment.
|Form a trusting relationship with the patient.|
People are more likely to open up and be honest if they feel accepted.
|Have the patient participate in the goal setting and care plan development.|
The more involved the patient is in establishing the care plan, the more compliant he or she will be. This also allows for personalizing the care plan as much as possible.
|Identify circumstances in the patient’s life causing or enabling isolation.|
Being caught up in everyday life, the patient might not see the problem causing his or her loneliness. Sometimes it takes help from outside to determine the problem.
|Assist the patient in recognizing issues that cause isolation.|
The patient has to be able to recognize situations that cause social isolation. To be able to improve upon the problem, the patient needs to identify the issue first.
|Assist the patient to practice social skills.|
Providing the client with the necessary skills will increase self-esteem and prepare for social situations.
|Help the patient choose activities that require social involvement. |
To get increasingly comfortable in social situations, the patient needs to expose himself or herself to these types of circumstances.
|Praise the client for making progress.|
Showing appreciation keeps the patient motivated and increases self-esteem.
|Allow for many visitors to encourage social contact.|
It can be therapeutic for the patient to discuss matters with other people.
|Encourage social interaction with people of the same interests.|
It might make it easier for the patient to start and keep a conversation when there is an interest in the topic.
|Consider involving the patient in support groups as necessary.|
Depending on the circumstance, the patient might benefit from regular group meetings or other activities consistently.
More Care Plans:
Ackley, B., & Ladwig, G. (2014). Nursing diagnosis handbook (10th ed.). Maryland Heights: Mosby Elsevier.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Loneliness | Cigna. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/chronic-loneliness