Memory Deterioration

Memory Deterioration

Introduction for Nursing Diagnosis

The NANDA Nursing diagnosis ‘Memory Deterioration’ is defined as “the decline in cognitive abilities including abilities to comprehend, store, and utilize knowledge”. Memory deterioration can refer to either short-term memory decline or long-term memory decline and may result from a variety of mental, physical, or environmental factors. This nursing diagnosis should be used when the patient has exhibited signs of decline in their ability to remember or recall which can manifest in different ways.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis: Memory Deterioration is defined as “a decline in cognitive abilities including abilities to comprehend, store, and utilize knowledge”.

Defining Characteristics


  • Expresses difficulty remembering recently seen or heard information
  • Expresses difficulty retrieving previously stored information
  • Expresses confusion about familiar persons or objects
  • Complains of poor concentration


  • Inaccurate recall of current, past, or remote information
  • Difficulty in acquiring and storing new information
  • Disorientation to place/time
  • Impaired judgment

Related Factors

  • Physiological: Head injury, Obstructive hydrocephalus, cerebrovascular accident,
    Posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome, Alzheimers’s disease,
    Depressive disorder, HIV infection, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adults, BPH, Subarachnoid haemorrhage
  • Psychological: Stress, Frustration, Anxiety, Social isolation
  • Situational: Environmental stimuli, Unfamiliarity, Language barriers

Risk Population

Individuals of all ages, especially elderly individuals, and individuals with identified illness, injury or disability as noted above are at risk.

Associated Problems

The person may experience emotional or psychological distress, decreased independence, impaired ability to perform activities of daily living, and risk for injury due to confusion regarding the environment and the self.

Suggestions for Use

The diagnosis should be used when there is a decrease in and difficulty with remembering, learning, understanding, and making decisions.

Suggested Alternative Nanda Diagnoses

  • Acute Confusion
  • Impaired Verbal Communication
  • Readiness for enhanced Knowledge

Usage Tips

The health care provider should assess the patient’s general cognition and memory functions. Specialized neuropsychometric testing may be necessary to accurately determine deficits.

NOC Results

  • Cognition: Short-Term Memory (understanding of new information)
  • Cognitive Performance: Attention (maintenance of vigilance)
  • Decision Making: Problem Solving (ability to identify and prioritize problems, generate and implement solutions)
  • Knowledge: Memory Strategies (correct employing of memory strategies)

NIC Interventions

  • Recall Training: Provide instruction and practice in recall techniques, e.g. chunking and mnemonics.
  • Cognitive Stimulation: Provide activities that stimulate both verbal and nonverbal areas of cognition.
  • Reminiscence: Encourage reminiscence.
    Provide prompts to encourage discussion and reminiscing associated with past experiences.
  • Environmental Management: Utilize an environment consistent with the activities the patient is able to partake in.

Conclusion and FAQ

The NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Memory Deterioration is used when there is a decline in someone’s ability to learn, remember, and make appropriate decisions. It is important to assess and understand the other factors, such as physiological, psychological, and environmental, that can contribute to this diagnosis. Once these have been identified, interventions can be implemented to help improve the individual’s cognitive abilities.

Common questions about Memory Deterioration include:

  • How can I improve my memory?
  • What are the causes of memory deterioration?
  • What kind of interventions can help reduce the symptoms of memory deterioration?

Related posts:

Leave a Comment