5 Best Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia

This article discusses Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia plus its causes, symptoms, preventions, treatments, and interventions.

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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.


Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder highly associated with psychosis or the disconnection from reality. It leads to various manifestations such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, and cognitive impairment.

It highly affects the person’s thoughts and emotions, leading to the person’s inability to participate socially and maintain meaningful relationships.

Schizophrenia is a lifelong disorder that can occur in both men and women of any age.

There is still no cure for schizophrenia at present; however, treatments are available to help manage the condition and control serious complications.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The clinical manifestations of schizophrenia are categorized into positive, negative, and cognitive.     

Positive Symptoms

These are the easily recognized signs and symptoms and are often referred to as behaviors not seen in healthy people.

  1. Delusions – delusions are beliefs that are not based on reality
  2. Hallucinations – these are experiences of seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling something that does not exist
  3. Abnormal motor behavior – people with schizophrenia may display child-like silliness or any behavioral changes that include resistance to instructions, inappropriate posture, lack of response, or useless and excessive movements

Negative Symptoms

These symptoms are sometimes more difficult to diagnose. They are related to the reduced ability to function normally and may include the following:

  • Diminished emotional expression
  • Anhedonia or the lack of ability to experience pleasure
  • Social withdrawal

Cognitive Symptoms

These symptoms are typically non-specific hence they tend to be severe enough to be noticed by another individual.

Disorganized thinking or speech – schizophrenia can affect a person’s communication ability. It may be noted that people with schizophrenia may display the use of different words being put together without any meaning at all.

Schizophrenia may be difficult to recognize in teenagers since its signs and symptoms may overlap with typical teenage development. Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia in teenagers may include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in school performance
  • Trouble getting sleep
  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of motivation

Causes of Schizophrenia

Despite extensive research on this condition, the exact cause of schizophrenia is still unknown. However, it is generally accepted that several factors can precipitate the development of the disorder.

  • In utero – some studies suggest that schizophrenia starts due to fetal disturbances in utero. It has been linked to bleeding during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, having emergency cesarean section, asphyxia, and having low birth weight.
  • Genetics – it is also believed that genetics plays a role in the occurrence of schizophrenia. It is found that the risk of developing the illness is high in people with a family history of the disorder.
  • Environmental factors – environmental stressors are highly associated with the development of schizophrenia. It may include childhood trauma, social isolation, minority ethnicity, and living in an urban area.
  • Changes in the brain chemistry. Although changes in brain structure is not evident in all cases of schizophrenia, some researchers believe that the imbalance of the neurotransmitters in the brain causes the condition to develop.

Complications of Schizophrenia

Suicide – one of the common causes of death in people with schizophrenia is suicide. Having suicidal thoughts and committing suicide can be due to the hallucinations such as hearing voices to harm themselves, depression due to the diagnosis of schizophrenia, or substance abuse.

Depression – this is seen in almost half of people with schizophrenia. It is not always identified and diagnosed hence it raises the risk of suicide in people suffering from the condition.

Anxiety – anxiety is quite common in people with schizophrenia. It is recorded that about 30-80% of cases have had anxiety at some point in their condition.

Homelessness –schizophrenia can greatly affect the person’s ability to function and hone social relationships. This may bring a lack of support from friends and family and cause them to be socially isolated and disconnected. This often leads to them ending up in the streets and homeless.

Self-injury – hallucinations can predispose people with schizophrenia to injure themselves.

Violence – not all cases of schizophrenia are associated with violence. However, the condition involves several factors that can increase the risk of violent behaviors.

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5) suggests that the criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia should include the presence of 2 or more of the symptoms lasting for a month, wherein one of the symptoms should include delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech.

The following are the procedures that can be performed to help achieve a diagnosis:

Physical exam – a thorough physical examination can be done to rule out other relevant problems and assess for possible complications.

Tests and screenings – blood and urine tests may be performed to identify the presence of alcohol and drugs or any other medical conditions that can cause the symptoms. An imaging study of the brain may also need to be performed, such as a CT scan or an MRI scan of the brain.

Psychiatric evaluation – since schizophrenia is a mental health disorder, a psychiatric evaluation may be needed to assess mental health status.

Treatment of Schizophrenia

Unfortunately, the treatment for schizophrenia is life-long. It includes the use of medications and therapies.

  1. Medications.

Certain drugs are often helpful in controlling the effects of the condition and preventing possible complications.

Second-generation antipsychotics – these drugs are preferred due to their lower risk of side effects.

First-generation antipsychotics – these drugs carry higher risks of having neurological side effects which may not be reversible.

Long-acting injectable antipsychotics – some drugs may be given true intramuscular or subcutaneous injection every 2-4 weeks. These may be the drug of choice if daily intake of pills is a concern.

  • Psychosocial interventions
  • Individual therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Family therapy
  • Vocational rehabilitation and supportive employment

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – can be considered if the person does not respond to other treatments. ECT involves the delivery of electrical shocks to the person’s brain to induce a seizure in an attempt to relieve schizophrenic symptoms.

Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia Based on Diagnosis

Nursing Care Plan 1: Diagnosis – Impaired Social Interaction

Impaired Social Interaction: The state in which an individual participates in an insufficient or excessive quantity or ineffective quality of social exchange.

It may be related to:

  • Difficulty with communication.
  • Difficulty with concentration.
  • Exaggerated response to alerting stimuli.
  • Feeling threatened in social situations.
  • Impaired thought processes (delusions or hallucinations).
  • Inadequate emotional responses.
  • Self-concept disturbance (verbalization of negative feelings about self).

Possibly evidenced by:

  • Appears upset, agitated, or anxious when others come too close in contact or try to engage him/her in an activity.
  • Dysfunctional interaction with others/peers.
  • Inappropriate emotional response.
  • Observed use of unsuccessful social interactions behaviors.
  • Spends time alone by self.
  • Unable to make eye contact or initiate or respond to the social advances of others.
  • Verbalized or observed discomfort in social situations.

Desired Outcomes

  1. The patient will attend one structured group activity within 5-7 days.
  2. The patient will seek out supportive social contacts.
  3. The patient will improve social interaction with family, friends, and neighbors.
  4. The patient will use appropriate social skills in interactions.
  5. The patient will engage in one activity with a nurse by the end of the day.
  6. The patient will maintain interaction with another client while doing an activity (e.g., simple board game, drawing).
  7. The patient will demonstrate an interest in starting coping skills training when ready for learning.
  8. The patient will engage in one or two activities with minimal encouragement from a nurse or family members.
  9. The patient will state that he or she is comfortable in at least three structured activities that are goal-directed.
  10. The patient will use appropriate skills to initiate and maintain an interaction.

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Nursing care plans for schizophrenia
Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess if the medication has reached therapeutic levels.Many of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia (hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts) will subside with medications, facilitating interactions.
Identify with the client symptoms he experiences when he or she begins to feel anxious around others.Increased anxiety can intensify agitation, aggressiveness, and suspiciousness.
Keep the client in an environment as free of stimuli (loud noises, crowding) as possible.The client might respond to noises and crowding with agitation, anxiety, and increased inability to concentrate on outside events.
Avoid touching the client.Touch by an unknown person can be misinterpreted as a sexual or threatening gesture. This is particularly true for a paranoid client.
Ensure that the goals set are realistic, whether in the hospital or community.Avoids pressure on the client and a sense of failure on the part of the nurse/family. This sense of failure can lead to a mutual withdrawal.
Structure activities that work at the client’s pace and activity.A client can lose interest in too ambitious activities, which can increase a sense of failure.
Structure times each day to include planned times for brief interactions and activities with the client on a one-on-one basisIt helps a client to develop a sense of safety in a non-threatening environment.
If the client cannot respond verbally or coherently, spend a frequent, short period with clients.An interesting presence can provide a sense of being worthwhile.
If the client is found to be very paranoid, solitary or one-on-one activities that require concentration are appropriate.The client is free to choose his level of interaction; however, concentration can help minimize distressing paranoid thoughts or voices.
If a client is delusional/hallucinating or has trouble concentrating, provide very simple concrete activities with the client (e.g., looking at a picture or doing a painting).Even simple activities help draw the client away from delusional thinking into reality in the environment.
If the client is very withdrawn, one-on-one activities with a “safe” person initially should be planned.Learn to feel safe with one person, then gradually might participate in a structured group activity.
Try to incorporate the client’s strengths and interests when not as impaired into the planned activities.Increase the likelihood of client’s participation and enjoyment.
Teach the client to remove himself briefly when feeling agitated and work on some anxiety relief exercises (e.g., meditation, rhythmic, and deep breathing exercises).Teach client skills in dealing with anxiety and increasing a sense of control.
Useful coping skills that the client will need include conversational and assertiveness skills.These are fundamental skills for dealing with the world, which everyone uses daily with more or less skill.
Remember to acknowledge and recognize the client’s positive steps in increasing social skills and appropriate interactions with others.Recognition and appreciation go long to sustain and increase a specific behavior.
Provide opportunities for the client to learn adaptive social skills in a non-threatening environment. Initial social skills training could include basic social behaviors (e.g., appropriate distance, maintaining good eye contact, calm manner/behavior, moderate voice tone).Social skills training helps clients adapt and function at a higher level in society and increases the client’s quality of life.
As the client progresses, provide the client with graded activities according to the level of tolerance, e.g., (1) simple games with one “safe” person; (2) slowly add a third person into “safe.”Gradually the client learns to feel safe and competent with increased social demands.
As the client progresses, Coping Skills Training should be available to him/her (nurse, staff, or others). Basically, the process: Define the skill to be learned. Model the skill. Rehearse skills in a safe environment, then in the community. Give corrective feedback on the implementation of skills.Increases client’s ability to derive social support and decrease loneliness. Clients will not give up substance of abuse unless they have alternative means to facilitate socialization they belong.
Eventually, engage other clients and significant others in social interactions and activities with the client (card games, ping pong, sing-a-songs, group sharing activities) at the client’s level.The client feels safe and competent in a graduated hierarchy of interactions.

Nursing Care Plan 2: Diagnosis – Disturbed Thought Process

Disturbed Thought Process: Disruption in cognitive operations and activities.

It may be related to:

Chemical alterations (e.g., medications, electrolyte imbalances).

  • Inadequate support systems.
  • Overwhelming stressful life events.
  • Possibility of a hereditary factor.
  • Panic level of anxiety.
  • Repressed fears.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Delusions.
  • Inaccurate interpretation of the environment.
  • Inappropriate non-reality-based thinking.
  • Memory deficit/problems.
  • Self-centeredness.

Desired Outcomes

  1. The patient will verbalize recognition of delusional thoughts if they persist.
  2. The patient will perceive the environment correctly.
  3. The patient will demonstrate satisfying relationships with real people.
  4. The patient will demonstrate a decreased anxiety level.
  5. The patient will refrain from acting on delusional thinking.
  6. The patient will develop trust in at least one staff member within 1 week.
  7. The patient will sustain attention and concentration to complete tasks or activities.
  8. The patient will state that the “thoughts” are less intense and less frequent with the help of the medications and nursing interventions.
  9. The patient will talk about concrete happenings in the environment without talking about delusions for 5 minutes.
  10. The patient will demonstrate two effective coping skills that minimize delusional thoughts.
  11. The patient will be free from delusions or demonstrate the ability to function without responding to persistent delusional thoughts.

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Nursing care plans for schizophrenia
Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Attempt to understand the significance of these beliefs to the client at the time of their presentation.Important clues to underlying fears and issues can be found in the client’s seemingly illogical fantasies.
Recognizes the client’s delusions as the client’s perception of the environment.Recognizing the client’s perception can help you understand the feelings he or she is experiencing.
Identify feelings related to delusions. For example: If a client believes someone is going to harm him/her, the client is experiencing fear. If a client believes someone or something is controlling his/her thoughts, the client is experiencing helplessness.When people believe that they are understood, anxiety might lessen.
Explain the procedures and try to be sure the client understands the procedures before carrying them out.When the client has full knowledge of procedures, he or she is less likely to feel tricked by the staff.
Interact with clients on the basis of things in the environment. Try to distract clients from their delusions by engaging in reality-based activities (e.g., card games, simple arts and crafts projects, etc.).When thinking is focused on reality-based activities, the client is free of delusional thinking during that time. Helps focus attention externally.
Do not touch the client; use gestures carefully.Suspicious clients might misinterpret touch as either aggressive or sexual in nature and might interpret it as a threatening gesture. People who are psychotic need a lot of personal space.
Initially, do not argue with the client’s beliefs or try to convince the client that the delusions are false and unreal.Arguing will only increase the client’s defensive position, thereby reinforcing false beliefs. This will result in the client feeling even more isolated and misunderstood.
Encourage healthy habits to optimize functioning: Maintain medication regimen. Maintain regular sleep patterns. Maintain self-care. Reduce alcohol and drug intake.All are vital to help keep the client in remission.
Show empathy regarding the client’s feelings; reassure the client of your presence and acceptance.The client’s delusion can be distressing. Empathy conveys your caring, interest, and acceptance of the client.
Teach client coping skills that minimize “worrying” thoughts. Coping skills include: Going to a gym. Phoning a helpline. Singing or listening to a song. Talking to a trusted friend. Thought-stopping techniques.When a client is ready, teach strategies the client can do alone.
Utilize safety measures to protect clients or others if the client believes they need to protect themselves against a specific person. Precautions are needed.During the acute phase, clients’ delusional thinking might dictate that they might have to hurt others or themselves to be safe. External controls might be needed.

Nursing Care Plan 3: Diagnosis – Interrupted Family Process

InterruptedFamilyProcess: Change in family relationships and/or functioning.

It may be related to:

  • Developmental crisis or transition.
  • Family role shift.
  • Physical or mental disorder of a family member.
  • A shift in the health status of a family member.
  • Situational crisis or transition.

Possibly evidenced by:

  • Changes in expression of conflict in the family.
  • Changes in communication patterns.
  • Changes in mutual support.
  • Changes in participation in decision making.
  • Changes in participation in problem-solving.
  • Changes in stress reduction behavior.
  • Knowledge deficit regarding community and health care support.
  • Knowledge deficit regarding the disease and what is happening with an ill family member (might believe the client is more capable than they are).
  • Inability to meet the needs of family and significant others (physical, emotional, spiritual).

Desired Outcomes

  1. Family and/or significant others will recount in some detail the early signs and symptoms of relapse in their ill family member and know whom to contact in case.
  2. Family and/or significant others will state and have written information identifying the signs of potential relapse and whom to contact before discharge.
  3. Family and/or significant others will state that they have received needed support from community and agency resources that offer education, support, coping skills training, and/or social network development (psychoeducational approach).
  4. Family and/or significant others will state what medications can do for their ill family member, the drugs’ side effects and toxic effects, and the need for adherence to medication at least 2 to 3 days before discharge.
  5. Family and/or significant others will name and have a complete list of community supports for ill family members and supports for all family members at least 2 days before the discharge.
  6. Family and/or significant others will attend at least one family support group (single-family, multiple families) within 4 days from the onset of an acute episode.
  7. Family and/or significant others will be included in the discharge planning along with the client.
  8. Family and/or significant others will meet with nurse/physician/social worker the first day of hospitalization and begin to learn about neurologic/biochemical disease, treatment, and community resources.
  9. Family and/or significant others will problem-solve, with the nurse, two concrete situations within the family that all would like to discharge.
  10. Family and/or significant others will recount in some detail the early signs and symptoms of relapse in their ill family member and know whom to contact.
  11. Family and/or significant others will demonstrate problem-solving skills for handling tensions and misunderstandings within the family member.
  12. Family and/or significant others will have access to family/multiple family support groups and psychoeducational training.
  13. Family and/or significant others will know of at least two contact people when they suspect potential relapse.
  14. Family and/or significant others will discuss the disease (schizophrenia) knowledgeably:
    1. Know about community resources (e.g., help with self-care activities, private respite).
    1. Support the ill family member in maintaining optimum health.
    1. Understand the need for medication adherence.

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Nursing care plans for schizophrenia
Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess the family members’ current level of knowledge about the disease and medications used to treat the disease.Family might have misconceptions and misinformation about schizophrenia and treatment or no knowledge at all. Teach client’s and family’s level of understanding and readiness to learn.
Inform the client’s family in clear, simple terms about psychopharmacologic therapy: dose, duration, indication, side effects, and toxic effects. Written information should be given to the client and family members as well.Understanding of the disease and the treatment of the disease encourages greater family support and client adherence.
Identify family’s ability to cope (e.g., the experience of loss, caregiver burden, needed supports).The family’s needs must be addressed to stabilize the family unit.
Teach the client and family the warning symptoms of relapse.Rapid recognition of early warning symptoms can help ward off potential relapse when immediate medical attention is sought.
Provide information on disease and treatment strategies at the family’s level of understanding.Meet family members’ needs for information.
Provide an opportunity for the family to discuss feelings related to an ill family member and identify their immediate concerns.Nurses and staff can best intervene when they understand the family’s experience and needs.
Provide information on client and family community resources for the client and family after discharge: day hospitals, support groups, organizations, psychoeducational programs, community respite centers (small homes), etc.Schizophrenia is an overwhelming disease for both the client and the family. Groups, support groups, and psychoeducational centers can help: Access caring.Access resources.Access support.Develop family skills.Improve the quality of life for all family members.Minimizes isolation.

Nursing Care Plan 4: Diagnosis – Disturbed Sensory Perception: Auditory/Visual

Disturbed Sensory Perception: Change in the amount or patterning of incoming stimuli accompanied by a diminished, exaggerated, distorted, or impaired response to such stimuli.

It may be related to:

  1. Altered sensory perception.
  2. Altered sensory reception; transmission or integration.
  3. Biochemical factors such as manifested by the inability to concentrate.
  4. Chemical alterations (e.g., medications, electrolyte imbalances).
  5. Neurologic/biochemical changes.
  6. Psychologic stress.

Possibly evidenced by:

  1. Altered communication pattern.
  2. Auditory distortions.
  3. Change in a problem-solving pattern.
  4. Disorientation to person/place/time.
  5. Frequent blinking of the eyes and grimacing.
  6. Hallucinations.
  7. Inappropriate responses.
  8. Mumbling to self, talking or laughing to self.
  9. Reported or measured change in sensory acuity.
  10. Tilting the head as if listening to someone.

Desired Outcomes

  1. The patient will learn ways to refrain from responding to hallucinations.
  2. The patient will state three symptoms they recognize when their high stress levels


  • The patient will state that the voices are no longer threatening, nor do they interfere with his or her life.
  • Using a scale from 1 to 10, the patient will state that “the voices” are less frequent and threatening when aided by medication and nursing intervention.
  • The patient will maintain role performance.
  • The patient will maintain social relationships.
  • The patient will monitor the intensity of anxiety.
  • The patient will identify two stressful events that trigger hallucinations.
  • The patient will identify personal interventions that decrease or lower the intensity or frequency of hallucinations (e.g., listening to music, wearing headphones, reading out loud, jogging, socializing).
  • The patient will demonstrate one stress reduction technique.
  • The patient will demonstrate techniques that help distract him or her from the voices.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Accept the fact that the voices are real to the client, but explain that you do not hear the voices. Refer to the voices as “your voices” or “voices that you hear.”Validating that your reality does not include voices can help the client cast “doubt” on the validity of his or her voices.
Be alert for signs of increasing fear, anxiety, or agitation.It might herald hallucinatory activity, which can be very frightening to a client, and the client might act upon command hallucinations (harm self or others).
Explore how the client experiences the hallucinations.Exploring the hallucinations and sharing the experience can help give the person a sense of power that he or she might be able to manage the hallucinatory voices.
Help the client to identify the needs that might underlie the hallucination. What other ways can these needs be met?Hallucinations might reflect needs for: Anger. Power. Self-esteem. Sexuality.
Help the client to identify times that the hallucinations are most prevalent and frightening.It helps both nurse and client identify situations and times that might be most anxiety-producing and threatening to the client.
If voices are telling the client to harm self or others, take necessary environmental precautions. Notify others and police, physician, and administration according to unit protocol. If in the hospital, use unit protocols for suicidal or threats of violence if the client plans to act on commands. If in the community, evaluate the need for hospitalization. Clearly document what the client says and if he/she is a threat to others, document who was contacted and notified (use agency protocol as a guide).People often obey hallucinatory commands to kill themselves or others. Early assessment and intervention might save lives.
Stay with clients when they are starting to hallucinate, and direct them to tell the “voices they hear” to go away. Repeat often in a matter-of-fact manner.The client can sometimes learn to push voices aside when given repeated instructions, especially within the framework of a trusting relationship.
Decrease environmental stimuli when possible (low noise, minimal activity).Decrease potential for anxiety that might trigger hallucinations. Helps calm client.
Intervene with one-on-one, seclusion, or PRN medication (As ordered) when appropriate.Intervene before anxiety begins to escalate. If the client is already out of control, use chemical or physical restraints following unit protocols.
Keep to simple, basic, reality-based topics of conversation. Help clients focus on one idea at a time.The client’s thinking might be confused and disorganized; this intervention helps the client focus and comprehend reality-based issues.
Work with the client to find which activities help reduce anxiety and distract the client from hallucinatory material. Practice new skills with the client.If clients’ stress triggers hallucinatory activity, they might be more motivated to find ways to remove themselves from a stressful environment or try distraction techniques.
Engage client in reality-based activities such as card playing, writing, drawing, doing simple arts and crafts, or listening to music.Redirecting the client’s energies to acceptable activities can decrease the possibility of acting on hallucinations and help distract from voices.

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Nursing care plans for schizophrenia
Nursing Care Plans for Schizophrenia

Nursing Care Plan 5: Diagnosis – Impaired Verbal Communication

Impaired Verbal Communication: decreased, reduced, delayed, or absent ability to receive, process, transmit or use a system of symbols.

It may be related to:

  • Altered perceptions.
  • Biochemical alterations in the brain of certain neurotransmitters.
  • Psychological barriers (lack of stimuli).
  • Side effects of medication.

Possibly evidenced by:

  • Difficulty communicating thoughts verbally.
  • Difficulty in discerning and maintaining the usual communication pattern.
  • Disturbances in cognitive associations (e.g., perseveration, derailment, poverty of speech, tangentiality, illogicality, neologism, and thought blocking).
  • Inappropriate verbalization.

Desired Outcomes

  1. The patient will express thoughts and feelings coherently, logically, goal-directedly.
  2. The patient will demonstrate reality-based thought processes in verbal communication.
  3. The patient will spend time with one or two other people on structured activity-neutral topics.
  4. The patient will spend two to three 5-minute sessions with the nurse sharing observations in the environment within 3 days.
  5. The patient will be able to communicate in a manner that others can understand with the help of medication and attentive listening by the time of discharge.
  6. The patient will learn one or two diversionary tactics that work for him/her to decrease anxiety, hence improving the ability to think clearly and speak more logically.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess if incoherence in speech is chronic or if it is more sudden, as in an exacerbation of symptoms.Establishing a baseline facilitates the establishment of realistic goals, the foundation for planning effective care.
Identify the duration of the psychotic medication of the client.Therapeutic levels of an antipsychotic aid clear thinking and diminish derailment or looseness of association.
Keep voice in a low manner and speak slowly as much as possible.A high-pitched/loud tone of voice can elevate anxiety levels, while slow speaking aids understanding.
Keep the environment calm, quiet, and as free of stimuli as possible.Keep anxiety from escalating and increasing confusion and hallucinations/delusions.
Plan short, frequent periods with a client throughout the day.Short periods are less stressful, and periodic meetings give a client a chance to develop familiarity and safety.
Use clear or simple words, and keep directions simple as well.The client might have difficulty processing even simple sentences.
Use simple, concrete, and literal explanations.Minimizes misunderstanding and/or incorporates those misunderstandings into delusional systems.
Focus on and direct the client’s attention to concrete things in the environment.Helps draw focus away from delusions and focus on reality-based things.
Look for themes in what is said, even though spoken words appear incoherent (e.g., fear, sadness, guilt).Often client’s choice of words is symbolic of feelings.
When you do not understand a client, let him/her know you have difficulty understanding.Pretending to understand limits your credibility in your client’s eyes and lessens the potential for trust.
When a client is ready, introduce strategies that can minimize anxiety and lower voices and “worrying” thoughts, teach the client to do the following: Focus on meaningful activities. Learn to replace negative thoughts with constructive thoughts.  Learn to replace irrational thoughts with rational statements. Perform deep breathing exercises. Read aloud to self. Seek support from staff, family, or other supportive people. Use a calming visualization or listen to music.  Helping the client to use tactics to lower anxiety can help enhance functional speech.
Use therapeutic techniques (clarifying feelings when speech and thoughts are disorganized) to try to understand the client’s concerns.Even if the words are hard to understand, try getting to the feelings behind them.

Related FAQs

1. What are the five early signs of schizophrenia?

There are five types of symptoms characteristic of schizophrenia: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, and the so-called “negative” symptoms.

2. How does schizophrenia start?

The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.

3. What does a schizophrenic person see?

Someone might see lights, objects, people, or patterns. Often it’s loved ones or friends who are no longer alive. They may also have trouble with depth perception and distance.

4. Are you born with schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is thought to be the result of a culmination of biological and environmental factors. While there is no known cause of schizophrenia, there are genetic, psychological, and social factors thought to play a role in the development of this chronic disorder.

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