Impaired Physical Mobility Nursing Care Plan


Use this impaired physical mobility nursing care plan guide to help you create nursing interventions for this nursing problem.

A modification in movement or mobility can either be a transient, recurring, or more permanent dilemma. And when it occurs, it becomes a complex healthcare problem that involves many different members of the healthcare team. In fact, some degree of immobility is very common in most conditions such as stroke, leg fracture, multiple sclerosis, trauma, and morbid obesity. The incidence of the disease and disability continues to expand with the longer life expectancy for most Americans. In most cases, even if patients are discharged from the hospital earlier than expected, they are transferred to rehabilitation facilities or sent home for physical therapy.

SEE ALSO: Nursing Care Plan (NCP) Guide and Database

Aging is also considered one of the factors concerning the alteration in mobility. A decrease in muscle function, loss of muscle mass, reduction in muscle strength, gait changes affecting balance, and stiffer and limited mobile joints can significantly jeopardize the mobility of aged patients. Mobility is needed especially if an individual is to maintain independent living. Limited movement affects the performance of most ADLs. The human body is designed for motion; hence, any restriction of movement will take its toll on every major anatomic system thus resulting in impaired physical mobility.

Signs and Symptoms

Impaired Physical Mobility is characterized by the following signs and symptoms that you can use in the assessment part of your nursing care plan:

  • Inability to move purposefully within the physical environment, including bed mobility, transfers, and ambulation
  • Inability to perform action as instructed
  • Limited ROM
  • Reluctance to attempt movement

Goals and Outcomes

The goals of interventions are to avoid the hazards of immobility, prevent dependent disabilities, and assist the patient in restoring, preserving, or maintaining as much mobility and functional independence as possible, as evidenced by the following indicators:

  • The patient performs physical activity independently or within the limits of the disease.
  • The patient demonstrates measures to increase mobility
  • The patient demonstrates the use of adaptive devices to increase mobility
  • The patient evaluates pain and the quality of management
  • The patient uses safety measures to minimize the potential for injury
  • The patient is free from complications of immobility, as evidenced by intact skin, absence of thrombophlebitis, normal bowel pattern, and clear breath sounds.

Nursing Care Plans for Impaired Physical Mobility

Diseases, medical conditions, and related nursing care plans for Impaired Physical Mobility nursing diagnosis:

Nursing Assessment and Rationales for Impaired Physical Mobility

Impaired physical mobility represents a complex healthcare problem that involves many different members of the healthcare team. Ongoing assessment is essential in order to identify potential problems that may have led to Impaired Physical Mobility.

1. Check for functional level of mobility.
Understanding the particular level guides the design of the best possible management plan. Functional levels of mobility include:

  • Level 1: Walk, regular pace, on level indefinitely; one flight or more but more short of breath than normally
  • Level 2: Walk one city block or 500 ft on level; climb one flight slowly without stopping
  • Level 3: Walk no more than 50 ft on level without stopping; unable to climb one flight of stairs without stopping
  • Level 4: Dyspnea and fatigue at rest

2. Evaluate the patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) efficiently and safely on a daily basis.
Restricted movement influences the capacity to perform most activities of daily living. Safety with ambulation is a significant matter. Determines strengths or insufficiency and may give information regarding recovery. This helps out in preference of actions since different methods are used for the following: flaccid and spastic paralysis. Levels include:

  • 0 – Completely independent
  • 1 – Requires use of equipment or device
  • 2 – Requires help from another person for assistance, supervision, or teaching
  • 3 – Requires help from another person and equipment or device
  • 4 – Is dependent, does not participate in activity

3. Assess for impediments to mobility
Identifying barriers to mobility (e.g., chronic arthritis versus stroke versus pain) guides the design of an optimal treatment plan.

4. Assess the strength to perform ROM to all joints.
This assessment provides data on the extent of any physical problems and guides therapy. Testing by a physical therapist may be needed.

5. Assess input and output record and nutritional pattern.
Pressure ulcers build up more rapidly in patients with nutritional insufficiency.

6. Monitor nutritional needs as they relate to immobility.
Good nutrition also gives the required energy for participating in exercise or rehabilitative activities.

7. Assess the presence or degree of exercise-related pain and changes in joint mobility.
Examines development or recession of complications. May require to delay augmenting exercises and hold until further healing occurs.

8. Assess the safety of the environment.
Blockages such as throw rugs, children’s toys, and pets can further control and limit one’s ability to ambulate harmlessly.

9. Assess the emotional response to the disability or limitation.
Acceptance of temporary or more permanent limitations can vary broadly between individuals. Each person has his or her personal interpretation of acceptable quality of life.

10. Assess the patient’s or caregiver‘s understanding of immobility and its implications.
The risk for effects of immobility such as muscle weakness, skin breakdown, pneumonia, constipation, thrombophlebitis, and depression are also to be considered in patients with temporary immobility.

11. Note for progressing thrombophlebitis (e.g., calf pain, Homan’s sign, redness, localized swelling, a rise in temperature).
Prolonged bed rest or immobility allows clot formation in the impaired physical mobility nursing diagnosis.

12. Check for skin integrity for signs of redness and tissue ischemia (especially over ears, shoulders, elbows, sacrum, hips, heels, ankles, and toes).
Routine inspection of the skin (especially over bony prominences) will allow for prevention or early recognition and treatment of pressure ulcers.

13. Note elimination status (e.g., usual pattern, present patterns, signs of constipation).
Immobility promotes constipation, decreasing the motility of the gastrointestinal tract.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales for Impaired Physical Mobility

The interventions for this condition include prevention of dependent disabilities, restoring mobility when possible, as well as maintaining or preserving the existing mobility. Special patient care includes changing position, exercises, nutrition, and giving a safe environment, etc. We look in detail at the nursing care plan for Impaired Physical Mobility:

1. Assist patient with muscle exercises as able or when allowed out of bed; execute abdominal-tightening exercises and knee bends; hop on foot; stand on toes.
Adds to gaining an enhanced sense of balance and strengthens compensatory body parts.

2. Present a safe environment: bed rails up, bed in a down position, and important items close by.
These measures promote a safe, secure environment and may reduce the risk for falls.

3. Establish measures to prevent skin breakdown and thrombophlebitis from prolonged immobility:

  • Clean, dry, and moisturize skin as necessary.
  • Use anti-embolic stockings or sequential compression devices if appropriate.
  • Use pressure-relieving devices as indicated (gel mattress).

This is to prevent skin breakdown, and the compression devices promote increased venous return to prevent venous stasis and possible thrombophlebitis in the legs.

4. Execute passive or active assistive ROM exercises to all extremities.
Exercise enhances increased venous return, prevents stiffness, and maintains muscle strength and stamina. It also avoids contracture deformation, which can build up quickly and could hinder prosthesis usage.

5. Provide foam or flotation mattress, water or air mattress, or kinetic therapy bed, as necessary.
These types of equipment decrease pressure on skin or tissues that can damage circulation, potentiating the risk of tissue ischemia or breakdown and decubitus formation.


6. Promote and facilitate early ambulation when possible. Aid with each initial change: dangling legs, sitting in a chair, ambulation.
These movements keep the patient as functionally working as possible. Early mobility increases self-esteem about reacquiring independence and reduces the chance that debilitation will transpire.

7. Show the use of mobility devices, such as the following: trapeze, crutches, or walkers.
These devices can compensate for impaired function and enhance the level of activity. The goals of using such aids are to promote safety, enhance mobility, avoid falls, and conserve energy.

8. Help out with transfer methods by using fitting assistance of persons or devices when transferring patients to bed, chair, or stretcher.
Learning the proper way to transfer is necessary for maintaining optimal mobility and patient safety.

9. Let the patient accomplish tasks at his or her own pace. Do not hurry the patient. Encourage independent activity as able and safe.
Healthcare providers and significant others are often in a hurry and do more for patients than needed. Thereby slowing the patient’s recovery and reducing his or her confidence.

10. Give positive reinforcement during the activity. Patients may be unwilling to move or initiate new activities because of fear of falling.
This is to boost the patient’s chances of recovering and increase his or her self-esteem.

11. Provide the patient with rest periods in between activities. Consider energy-saving techniques.
Rest periods are essential in conserving energy. The patient must learn and accept his or her limitations.

12. Give medications as appropriate.
Antispasmodic medications may reduce muscle spasms or spasticity that interfere with mobility; analgesics may reduce the pain that impedes movement.

13. Help patients in accepting limitations.
Let the patient understand and accept his or her limitations and abilities. Assistance, on the other hand, needs to be balanced to prevent the patient from being unnecessarily dependent.

14. Encourage resistance-training exercises using light weights when suitable.
Strength training and other forms of exercise are believed to be effective in maintaining independent living status and reducing the risk of falling in older adults.

15. Help patient develop sitting balance and standing balance.
This helps out in retraining neuronal pathways, promoting proprioception and motor response.

16. Turn and position the patient every 2 hours or as needed.|
Position changes optimize circulation to all tissues and relieve pressure.

17. Keep limbs in functional alignment with one or more of the following: pillows, sandbags, wedges, or prefabricated splints.
This avoids footdrop and too much plantar flexion or tightness. Maintain feet in a dorsiflexed position.

18. Encourage coughing and deep-breathing exercises. use suction as necessary. Make use of an incentive spirometer.
Coughing and breathing exercises prevent the buildup of secretions. Incentive spirometry increases lung expansion.

19. Present suggestions for nutritional intake for adequate energy resources and metabolic requirements.
Proper nutrition is vital to keep a sufficient energy level. The patient will need an adequate, properly balanced intake of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to provide energy resources.

20. Encourage a diet high in fiber and liquid intake of 2000 to 3000 ml per day unless contraindicated.
Liquids maximize hydration status and avoid the hardening of stool. It also decreases the risk of skin irritation or breakdown.

21. Set up a bowel program (e.g., adequate fluid, foods high in bulk, physical activity, stool softeners, laxatives) as needed. Note bowel activity levels.
A sedentary lifestyle contributes to constipation. A variety of interventions will promote normal elimination.

22. Offer diversional activities. Observe emotional or behavioral reactions to immobility.
Forced immobility may heighten restlessness and irritability. Diversional activity helps in refocusing attention and promotes coping with limitations.

23. Evaluate the need for assistive devices.
Correct utilization of wheelchairs, canes, transfer bars, and other assistance can enhance activity and lessen the danger of falls.

24. Consider the need for home assistance (e.g., physical therapy, visiting nurse).
Obtaining suitable support or help for the patient can ensure a safe and proper progression of activity.

25. Explain to the patient the need to call for help, such as a call bell and special sensitive call light.
In impaired physical mobility, this intervention allows the patient to have a sense of control and lowers the fear of being left alone.

26. Set goals with the patient or significant others for cooperation in activities or exercise and position changes.
This enhances a sense of anticipation of progress or improvement and gives some sense of control or independence.

27. Reinforce principles of progressive exercise, emphasizing that joints are to be exercised to the point of pain, not beyond.
“No pain, no gain” is not always true! Pain occurs as a result of joint or muscle injury. Further damage is expected if inappropriate movement is continued.

28. Teach patient or family in maintaining a home atmosphere hazard-free and safe.
A safe environment will help prevent injury related to falls. Home modification can help the patient maintain the desired level of functional independence and reduce fatigue with activity.

29. Provide an explanation about the progressive activity to the patient.
Providing small, attainable goals helps increase self-confidence and reduces frustration.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy.

Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of its evidence-based approach to nursing interventions. This care plan handbook uses an easy, three-step system to guide you through client assessment, nursing diagnosis, and care planning. Includes step-by-step instructions showing how to implement care and evaluate outcomes, and help you build skills in diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking.

Nursing Care Plans – Nursing Diagnosis & Intervention (10th Edition)
Includes over two hundred care plans that reflect the most recent evidence-based guidelines. New to this edition are ICNP diagnoses, care plans on LGBTQ health issues, and on electrolytes and acid-base balance.

NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
The definitive guide to nursing diagnoses is reviewed and approved by NANDA International. In this new version of a pioneering text, all introductory chapters have been rewritten to provide nurses with the essential information they need to comprehend assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the purpose and application of taxonomic organization at the bedside. A total of 46 new nursing diagnoses and 67 amended nursing diagnostics are presented.

Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions, and Rationales
Quick-reference tool includes all you need to identify the correct diagnoses for efficient patient care planning. The sixteenth edition includes the most recent nursing diagnoses and interventions from NANDA-I 2021-2023 and an alphabetized listing of nursing diagnoses covering more than 400 disorders.

Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care 
Identify interventions to plan, individualize, and document care for more than 800 diseases and disorders. Only in the Nursing Diagnosis Manual will you find for each diagnosis subjectively and objectively – sample clinical applications, prioritized action/interventions with rationales – a documentation section, and much more!

All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource – E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health 
Includes over 100 care plans for medical-surgical, maternity/OB, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health. Interprofessional “patient problems” focus familiarizes you with how to speak to patients.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

References and Sources

Additional references and recommended reading material for Impaired Physical Mobility nursing diagnosis:

  • Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2006). Handbook of nursing diagnosis. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [Link]
  • Pedrão, T. G. G., Brunori, E. H. F. R., Santos, E. D. S., Bezerra, A., & Simonetti, S. H. (2018). NURSING DIAGNOSES AND INTERVENTIONS FOR CARDIOLOGICAL PATIENTS IN PALLIATIVE CARE. Journal of Nursing UFPE/Revista de Enfermagem UFPE12(11). [Link]

Gil Wayne ignites the minds of future nurses through his work as a part-time nurse instructor, writer, and contributor for Nurseslabs, striving to inspire the next generation to reach their full potential and elevate the nursing profession.

6 thoughts on “Impaired Physical Mobility Nursing Care Plan”

Leave a Comment

Share to...