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A Nursing Diagnosis of Limited Mobility

By Ngozi Oguejiofo ; Updated June 13, 2017

Nursing diagnoses are statements used by nurses to describe problems that patients develop as a result of illness or disease. To make a nursing diagnosis, a nurse interviews a patient and also performs a physical assessment of the patient. The information gathered is used to formulate and validate a nursing diagnosis. "Impaired physical mobility" is a nursing diagnosis for a patient with limited mobility.

Limited Mobility

When a person is unable to move around effectively, activities such as going to the bathroom, self-care or eating may become difficult or impossible. A patient may experience limited mobility temporarily or permanently. This situation may occur as a result of disease, trauma or old age. To write a nursing diagnosis for a patient with limited mobility, the nurse would need to determine if the patient is able to move at all and how the condition affects the patient.


To determine if a patient does have limited mobility, a nurse assesses the patient for conditions that might prevent mobility such as fatigue, pain, depression, neurological impairments or medical restrictions. Checking to see if a patient can move various body parts and perform activities of daily living such as oral care may reveal restricted movements. This information helps a nurse to develop the nursing diagnosis of "impaired physical mobility" and create a care plan that will address the patient's specific needs.


"Nursing Diagnosis: Application To Clinical Practice" by Lynda Juall Carpenito-Moyet explains that problems associated with limited mobility are skin breakdown or wounds, muscle weakness, falls, depression, pneumonia and total loss of mobility with prolonged immobility. Blood clot formation as well as constipation may also happen as a result of limited mobility.

Care Plan

A care plan for the nursing diagnosis "impaired physical mobility" focuses on providing a safe environment for patients; maintaining whatever ability they have in terms of being able to move; and preventing further deterioration of the patient's functional abilities. To meet these goals, certain nursing interventions are included in the care plan and then implemented.

Nursing Interventions

A nursing intervention that helps reduce the risk of debilitation and increase mobility is to encourage the patient to walk. The nurse can provide assistance if the patient needs it. Another nursing intervention for increasing mobility is to teach the patient how to move around with the aid of assistive devices such as walkers.

Keeping the patient's skin moisturized, clean and dry as well as turning the patient on a schedule may prevent sores from developing. Also, to keep the patient safe, beds should be placed at low positions and side rails on the bed should be raised up. Helping the patient to perform range of motion exercises is a nursing intervention that can prevent stiff joints and maintain muscle strength.

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