4 Scoliosis Nursing Care Plans


Scoliosis is a lateral curving of the spine with the thoracic area being the most commonly affected. It can be classified as functional or structural. Functional scoliosis is the result of another deformity and is corrected by treating the underlying problem. Structural scoliosis is most often idiopathic although it may be congenital or secondary to another disorder. There is a growing body of evidence that idiopathic scoliosis is probably genetic but the etiology is not completely understood. Structural scoliosis is more progressive and causes changes in supporting structures, such as the ribs. Management includes observation, bracing, and surgical fusion. Patients with idiopathic curves of less than 25 degrees are observed for progress until they have reached skeletal maturity. Bracing is recommended for adolescents with curves between 30 and 45 degrees, while curves greater than 45 degrees usually require surgery. The deformity may occur at any age, from infancy through adolescence, but the best prognosis belongs to those who are almost fully grown and whose curvature is of a mild degree. Idiopathic scoliosis most commonly occurs in adolescent girls.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning goals for a pediatric client with scoliosis may include restoration of normal breathing pattern, relief of pain, improved physical mobility, enhanced learning, stop the progression of the curve and prevent deformity.

Here are four (4) nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis (NDx) for scoliosis:

  1. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  2. Impaired Physical Mobility
  3. Disturbed Body Image
  4. Deficient Knowledge

Disturbed Body Image

Nursing Diagnosis


May be related to

  • Biophysical and psychosocial factors of spinal deformity

Possibly evidenced by

  • Verbal response to actual change in structure of spine
  • Negative feelings about body
  • Dependence on long-term use of brace
  • feeling of rejection by peers, inability to participate in some activities.)

Desired Outcomes

  • Child will experience improved body image.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess child’s feelings on wearing brace, long-term treatments, restricted movements, and inability to keep up
with peers and participate in activities.
Provides information about the status of self-concept and changes in appearance.
Encourage verbalization of feelings and concerns and support child’s
communications with significant others and peers.
Provides an opportunity to verbalize and limit negative feelings on changes in appearance and prolong wearing of an appliance.
Assist child to adjust to self-perception of short leg, use of appliance and effect on appearance.Promotes realistic perception of appearance and positive self-image.
Assist with the plan for independence in performing ADL, application and removal of appliance, choice of shoes and clothing to wear.Promotes independence and adjustment to the appliance.
Maintain positive environment and encourage activities appropriate to the child.Enhances body image and confidence, and promotes trust and respect of the child.
Reassure parents and child that most
activities are permitted with use of
Promotes positive feelings about the treatment and restrictions created by the deformity.
Assist the child find ways to inform others
about wearing appliance.
Assist child in dealing with questions and curiosity of others about differences caused by deformity.
Assist child to the type of clothing to cover appliance that is stylish and has peer acceptance.Improves appearance and body image.
Educate child about activity restrictions that include progression from quiet  activities to involvement in those to avoid: contact sports, bike riding, driving, skating, or those that may result in a fall if
surgery has been done.
Prevents injury following surgical correction of the deformity.

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 for musculoskeletal disorders and conditions:

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.