Nursing diagnosis – RISK FOR LONELINESS



At risk for experiencing discomfort associated with a desire or need

for more contact with others


• Affectional deprivation

• Physical isolation

• Cathectic deprivation

• Social isolation

ASSESSMENT FOCUS    (Refer  to  comprehensive  assessment  parameters.)

• Coping

• Roles/relationships

• Emotional

• Values/beliefs


The patient will

• Identify feelings of loneliness and express desire to socialize more.

• Identify behaviors that lead to loneliness.

• Identify people who will likely support and accept him.

• Spend time with others.

• Be comfortable in social settings, interact with peers, and receive

support from others.

• Make specific plans to continue involvement with others, such as

through recreational activities or social interaction groups.


Loneliness Severity; Risk Control; Social Involvement; Social Support


Determine:  Work with patient to identify factors and behaviors that

have contributed to loneliness to begin changing behaviors that may

have alienated others.

Help patient identify feelings associated with loneliness. This lessens

the impact of feelings and mobilizes energy to counteract them.

Perform:  Spend sufficient time with patient to allow him to express

his feelings of loneliness to establish trusting relationship.

Work with patient to establish goals for reducing feelings of lone-

liness after he leaves healthcare setting to focus energy on specific


Inform:  Inform patient that assistance is available to help him

express feelings of loneliness and identify ways to increase social

activity to bring issue into open and help patient understand that

you want to help him.

Help patient curb feelings of loneliness by encouraging one-on-one

interaction with others who are likely to accept him (e.g., church

members or patients with similar health problems) to promote feelings

of acceptance and support.

Help patient identify social activities he can initiate, such as

becoming active in a support group or volunteer organization. This

fosters feelings of control and increase social contacts.

Help patient accept that other people may view him differently

because of his illness, and explore ways of coping with their reactions

to help patient learn to cope with stigma associated with illness.

Attend:  Encourage patient to address his needs assertively. By being

assertive, patient assumes responsibility for meeting his needs with-

out anger or guilt.

As patient’s comfort level improves, encourage him to attend

group activities and social functions to promote the use of social


Manage:  Refer patient and family to social service agencies, mental

health center, and appropriate support groups to ensure continued

care and maintain social involvement.


Emotional Support; Socialization Enhancement; Spiritual Support;

Visitation Facilitation; Family Integrity Promotion


Perese, E. F., & Wolf, M. (2005, July). Combating loneliness among persons

with severe mental illness: Social network interventions’ characteristics,
effectiveness, and applicability. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 6(6),