Chronic Confusion

Chronic Confusion

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis: Chronic Confusion

Nursing diagnosis is about identifying and diagnosing health problems for the purpose of providing medical-surgical nursing care. NANDA nursing diagnosis can be defined as nursing diagnoses developed, reviewed and approved by NANDA International (North American Nursing Diagnostics Association). One of such nursing diagnoses is Cyclic Confusion.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Chronic Confusion is a state in which an individual has confusion as a recurrent, persistent and long-term problem. It can occur due to acute, or chronic illness, medications and other treatments.

Defining Characteristics


  • Verbalization of confusion
  • Difficulty with recall or decision-making
  • Inability to attend to task
  • Impaired communication
  • Decline in functional performance
  • Anxiety


  • Inaccurate responses to questions
  • Confused thought process
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Distractibility
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation

Related Factors

  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Head injury
  • Alcohol / substance abuse
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Intracranial pathology
  • Malnutrition
  • Polypharmacy
  • Sleep problems

Risk Population

Chronic Confusion is a common problem for elderly adults with dementia, cerebrovascular accident, Alzheimers, Alzheimer’s-related diseases, and other medical comorbidities.

Associated Problems

Chronic Confusion can result in various psychosocial issues such as social isolation, fear, embarrassment, frustration, and depression among others. Additionally, it can lead to an increased risk for injury and falls due to impaired attention and thinking.

Suggestions of Use

Chronic Confusion should be managed in a holistic approach which involves assessment of physical and mental status, patient’s understanding and recognition of symptoms, use of supportive strategies, and a multidisciplinary approach when necessary.

Suggested Alternative NANDA Diagnoses

NANDA recommends nurses to consider the following alternative nursing diagnoses when assessing patients with Chronic Confusion:

  • Ineffective Coping
  • Ineffective Health Maintenance
  • Risk for Injury
  • Social Isolation
  • Impaired Social Interaction
  • Knowledge Deficit
  • Decreased Interactive Behavior

Usage Tips

  • Recognize the common characteristics of Chronic Confusion.
  • Observe the patient’s verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Assess the problems that could be causing the confusion.
  • Encourage the patient to verbalize feelings about the symptoms.
  • Identify and suggest strategies to manage the confusion.
  • Provide emotional support and monitor patient response.
  • Instruct patient on follow up care and review plans with him/her.

NOC Results & Explanation

  • Orientation: Cognitive – Evaluates the patient’s ability to orient to conversation and surroundings.
  • Decision Making – Evaluates the patient’s ability to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy options.
  • Memory Function – Evaluates patient’s ability to remember instructions and recall events.
  • Information Processing – Evaluates the patient’s ability to process new information.
  • Confusion level – Assesses the level of confusion of the patient.

NIC Interventions & Explanation

  • Cognitive Stimulation – Involves activities that help the patient process information and orient to their environment.
  • Reorientation Therapy – Reorientation therapy helps the patient to relearn tasks and memories.
  • Environmental Modification – This involves changing the environment to make it easy for the patient to learn and retain new information.
  • Medication Management – This involves administration of medications to manage the confusion.
  • Counseling Support – Counseling services are provided to reduce anxiety and to gain better understanding of the condition.

Conclusion & FAQ

Chronic Confusion can be a serious condition but with proper diagnosis, care and support, it can be managed successfully. Please consult your doctor and discuss any concerns regarding treatment.
Q: What is NANDA nursing diagnosis?
A: NANDA nursing diagnosis is developed, reviewed and approved nursing diagnoses by NANDA International.

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