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Self-Care Deficit, Adult


Self-Care Deficit (Adult Inpatient)

Clinical Description

  • Care of the hospitalized patient experiencing limitations in the safe and independent performance of activities of daily living.

Key Information

  • It is important to consider the patient’s cultural norms, along with individual priorities and preferences when promoting self-care performance.
  • Early rehabilitation and care aimed at increasing self-care abilities are important to help prevent loss of independence and associated negative health outcomes.

Clinical Goals

By transition of care

A. The patient will achieve the following goals:
  • Improved Ability to Complete Activities of Daily Living

B. Patient, family or significant other will teach back or demonstrate education topics and points:
  • Education: Overview
  • Education: Self Management
  • Education: When to Seek Medical Attention

Correlate Health Status

  • Correlate health status to:

    • history, comorbidity
    • age, developmental level
    • sex, gender identity
    • baseline assessment data
    • physiologic status
    • response to medication and interventions
    • psychosocial status, social determinants of health
    • barriers to accessing care and services
    • health literacy
    • cultural and spiritual preferences
    • safety risks
    • family interaction
    • plan for transition of care

Self-Care Deficit


  • active movement limitation
  • bathing ability limited
  • dressing ability limited
  • grooming ability limited
  • inability to complete BADLs (basic activities of daily living)
  • inability to complete IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living)
  • laundry performance ability limited
  • limited endurance
  • meal preparation ability limited
  • medication management ability limited
  • muscle weakness
  • pain limits activity
  • personal hygiene care ability limited
  • reluctance to perform self-care
  • requires prompting to perform self-care
  • requires assistance with self-care
  • self-feeding ability limited
  • shortness of breath
  • toileting ability limited

Problem Intervention

Promote Activity and Functional Independence

  • Evaluate ability to perform and complete BADLs (basic activities of daily living) and IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living) safely and independently.
  • Identify patient’s preferences for clothing, food and personal care items; offer and honor patient choice when possible.
  • Provide therapeutic interventions, such as modifications or adaptations to personal care tasks or routines to maximize independence and safety.
  • Encourage active participation and independence in daily activity; provide level of assistance required for safety.
  • Implement appropriate environmental modifications, such as decluttering and rearranging room to allow wheelchair access.
  • Promote use of recommended adaptive equipment, devices and orthoses.
  • Maintain patient’s preferred routines and habits; respect privacy and personal space.
  • Schedule self-care activities when pain and fatigue are at a minimum to encourage optimal performance.
  • Pace activity; allow adequate time and rest periods to conserve energy.
  • Provide frequent encouragement, along with prompting and assistance as needed.
  • Provide set-up of items if patient is unable to retrieve; store personal care items in accessible location.
  • Individualize instructions and prompts to patient’s cognitive status to promote effective communication; simplify verbal directions, give encouragement and provide demonstrated cues as needed.
  • Position the patient for optimal performance, such as sitting in a chair for meals or performing hygiene at sink.

Associated Documentation

  • Activity Assistance Provided
  • Adaptive Equipment Use
  • Self-Care Promotion


CPG-Specific Education Topics


  • risk factors

  • signs/symptoms

Self Management

  • self-care

When to Seek Medical Attention

  • unresolved/worsening symptoms

General Education Topics

General Education

  • admission, transition of care

  • orientation to care setting, routine

  • advance care planning

  • diagnostic tests/procedures

  • diet modification

  • opioid medication management

  • oral health

  • medication management

  • pain assessment process

  • safe medication disposal

  • tobacco use, smoke exposure

  • treatment plan

Safety Education

  • call light use

  • equipment/home supplies

  • fall prevention

  • harm prevention

  • infection prevention

  • MDRO (multidrug-resistant organism) care

  • personal health information

  • resources for support


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Clinical Practice Guidelines represent a consistent/standardized approach to the care of patients with specific diagnoses. Care should always be individualized by adding patient specific information to the Plan of Care.