6 Cushing’s Disease Nursing Care Plan


Cushing’s Disease (Cushing’s Syndrome; Hypercortisolism; Adrenal Hyperfunction) is a cluster of clinical abnormalities caused by excessive levels of adrenocortical hormones (particularly cortisol) or related corticosteroids and, to a lesser extent, androgens and aldosterone. The disorder is caused by adrenocortical hyperplasia (overgrowth of adrenal cortex) secondary to pituitary overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), benign or malignant adrenal tumors that release excess glucocorticoids into the blood, prolonged or excessive administration of corticosteroids. The disease results in altered fat distribution, compromised immune system, disturbances in protein metabolism, and fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

Nursing Care Plans

Changes in the physical appearance associated with Cushing’s disease can have a notable influence on client’s body image and emotional well-being. The focus of this care plan is promoting skin integrity, improving body image, decreasing the risk of injury and improving thought processes.

Here are six (6) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for Cushing’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome:

  1. Risk For Excess Fluid Volume
  2. Risk For Injury
  3. Risk For Infection
  4. Deficient Knowledge
  5. Disturbed Body Image
  6. Disturbed Thought Processes

Disturbed Thought Processes

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  •  Chemical changes in the brain from high cortisol.

Possibly evidenced by

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will exhibit normal thought process and improve mentation.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Explain to client and family the cause of emotional instability.High cortisol levels can be experienced by the body as anxiety, and insomnia is very common in clients on steroids and with high cortisol levels.
Encourage client to discuss feelings and concerns.This will assist the client in verbalizing concerns and provides the opportunity to deal with matters of the client.
Provide a positive and caring environment for the client.The depressing effect of having a serious and impairing illness may also contribute to depression.
Repeat instructions as necessary using clear, simple language and short sentencesCushing’s disease can affect a client’s concentration and memory.
Assist the client in psychotherapy.Psychotherapy can help with depression, mood, and anxiety which are caused by Cushing’s disease.
Administer medications (such as ketoconazole, metyrapone) as indicatedThese medications are used to lower high cortisol levels due to tumors and may be helpful relieving some of the psychiatric symptoms associated with the high cortisol state.


Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other nursing care plans related to endocrine system and metabolism disorders:

Paul Martin is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2007. Having worked as a medical-surgical nurse for five years, he handled different kinds of patients and learned how to provide individualized care to them. Now, his experiences working in the hospital is carried over to his writings to help aspiring students achieve their goals. He is currently working as a nursing instructor and have a particular interest in nursing management, emergency care, critical care, infection control, and public health. As a writer at Nurseslabs, his goal is to impart his clinical knowledge and skills to students and nurses helping them become the best version of themselves and ultimately make an impact in uplifting the nursing profession.