Nursing diagnosis Impaired memory

📖 Impaired memory ✍

Impaired memory

Domain 5. Perception-cognition
Class 4. Cognition
Diagnostic Code: 00131
Nanda label: Impaired memory
Diagnostic focus: Memory

Nursing diagnosis impaired memory is an area of nursing practice that focuses on the evaluation and assessment of a patient’s memory-related challenges. It includes an overall understanding of how to identify, diagnose, and evaluate symptoms associated with specific deficits in different cognitive functioning areas. It can include physical or mental factors that may be impacting the patient’s memory. This article will provide an overview of the NANDA nursing diagnosis definition and other characteristics, associated conditions, interventions, and Frequently Asked Questions about impaired memory.

Table of Contents

Nursing Diagnosis Definition

The definition of impaired memory according to the NANDA nursing diagnosis taxonomy is a reduced ability to recall past experiences and/or learn new information. In nursing diagnosis, impaired memory is characterized by diminished ability of capabilities related to retaining information, such as decreased learning and impaired thinking. It also includes a lack of interest or motivation to remember or focus on what has been learned.

Defining Characteristics


  • Reports difficulty remembering details
  • Decreased concentration
  • Agitation or confusion
  • Difficulty coping with daily routine


  • Reduced attention span
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Poor judgement
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Inability to follow conversations

Related Factors

  • Asphyxia: Asphyxia is a condition caused by lack of oxygen which often leads to impaired ability of the brain to encode, store, and retrieve memories.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications may have side effects that can lead to impairment in cognitive function, including memory.
  • Substance Abuse: The use of drugs and alcohol can affect the individual’s ability to remember.
  • Stress: Stress and anxiety can negatively impact memory recall.
  • Injuries: Traumatic brain injury or other physical injuries can cause memory loss.

At Risk Population

Certain populations are more at risk for developing a diagnosis of impaired memory. These include:

  • Older adults
  • People who have experienced a stroke
  • Patients with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Patients with head trauma
  • Patients diagnosed with dementia
  • Individuals with learning disabilities
  • Individuals who experience long-term psychological distress

Associated Conditions

In addition to having impairments in memory, people with nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory may also display one or more of the following associated conditions:

  • Problems with reasoning
  • Problems with communication
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Difficulty understanding social cues
  • Apathy
  • Irritability

Suggestions for Use

Nurses can use various strategies when assessing patients with a diagnosis of impaired memory. These strategies may include:

  • Assess the patient’s ability to remember information, using various tests and assessments.
  • Monitor the level of agitation or confusion that the patient is exhibiting.
  • Pay attention to changes in patient behavior, as these may be indicative of cognitive problems.
  • Ask questions that require the patient to think critically.
  • Ask meaningful questions that allow the nurse to assess the patient’s response to their environment and gauge how receptive they are to information being presented.
  • Listen carefully to the patient’s answers, as this can help identify patterns of incorrect responses.

Suggested Alternative Nursing Diagnosis

  • Delirium
  • Dementia
  • Disturbed Sleep Pattern
  • Impaired Verbal Communication
  • Risk for Injury
  • Ineffective Coping
  • Acute Confusion
  • Chronic Confusion

Usage Tips

When working with patients diagnosed with impaired memory, it is important to:

  • Allow ample time to ensure that the patient has processed and understood information presented to them.
  • Explain instructions step-by-step, using simple language that is easy to understand.
  • Utilize visual cues to help the patient remember key concepts.
  • Have a family member, friend, or caregiver present to provide extra support and assistance.
  • Encourage the patient to ask questions as needed and provide clarifications as required.

NOC Outcomes

Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC) is a standardized method for assessing patient outcomes. In cases of nursing diagnosis impaired memory, the following NOC outcomes are often sought after:

  • Orientation: This outcome focuses on how well the patient is oriented to the environment and how well they are able to process information.
  • Comprehension: This outcome focuses on the patient’s ability to understand information presented to them.
  • Memory: This outcome evaluates the patient’s ability to recall recent information.
  • Learning: This outcome evaluates the patient’s ability to learn new things.
  • Problem Solving: This outcome focuses on the patient’s ability to logically solve problems.

Evaluation Objectives and Criteria

For evaluating a patient’s ability to alert them of their impairment and make appropriate decisions, the criteria include:

  • Recognizing personal deficits
  • Making appropriate decisions
  • Understanding safety risks
  • Taking action to maintain personal safety
  • Making changes to lifestyle to address the impairment

NIC Interventions

Nursing Intervention Classification (NIC) is a standardized way of classifying nursing interventions. In cases of nursing diagnosis impaired memory, the following NIC interventions may be used:

  • Patient Centered Care: This intervention prioritizes the patient’s needs, preferences and values, focusing on their individual strengths and abilities.
  • Environmental Management: This intervention helps create a safe, supportive environment for the patient which limits avoidable risks and encourages independent living.
  • Education: This intervention focuses on providing information about the diagnosis, expected treatment and potential long-term effects.
  • Physical Assistance: This intervention helps assist the patient with walking, maintaining cleanliness and basic self-care tasks.
  • Intercessory Prayer: This intervention involves providing spiritual support and comfort to the patient.
  • Cognitive Stimulation: This intervention provides activities to stimulate the patient’s memory, increasing the chances of positive outcomes.
  • Social Support: This intervention provides support from family and friends, helping the patient feel valued and loved.

Nursing Activities

When working with patients diagnosed with nursing diagnosis impaired memory, nurses need to perform several activities. These activities include:

  • Assessing the patient's cognitive ability
  • Evaluating the patient's ability respond to given stimuli
  • Facilitating therapeutic conversations between the patient and family
  • Engaging in activities designed to reduce cerebral stress
  • Assisting the patient with exercises designed to improve memory-recall abilities
  • Providing education to the patient and their family concerning the diagnosis and treatment options


Nursing diagnosis impaired memory is a diagnosis that requires skill and patience when caring for patients. It is important for nurses to recognize signs and symptoms of the condition, be aware of associated conditions, and understand how to best intervene. By utilizing the tools and techniques outlined above, nurses can effectively assess and treat patients with this diagnosis, improving their quality of life.


Q: What is Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory?
A: Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory is a diagnosis which focuses on evaluating and assessing a patient’s memory-related challenges. It includes an overall understanding of how to identify, diagnose, and evaluate symptoms associated with specific deficits in different cognitive functioning areas.

Q: What are the Defining Characteristics of Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory?
A: The defining characteristics of nursing diagnosis impaired memory include reports of difficulty remembering details, decreased concentration, agitation or confusion, difficulty coping with daily routine, reduced attention span, difficulty following instructions, poor judgment, increased forgetfulness, and difficulty following conversations.

Q: Which Populations Are At Risk For Developing Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory?
A: Populations that are at risk for developing nursing diagnosis impaired memory include older adults, people who have experienced a stroke, patients with Alzheimer’s disease, patients with head trauma, patients diagnosed with dementia, individuals with learning disabilities, and individuals who experience long-term psychological distress.

Q: What Types of Nursing Interventions Help Address Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory?
A: Nursing interventions that help address nursing diagnosis impairedmemory include patient-centered care, environmental management, education, physical assistance, intercessory prayer, cognitive stimulation, and social support.

Q: What Types of nursing Outcomes Are Aimed For With Nursing Diagnosis Impaired Memory?
A: Common nursing outcomes aimed for with nursing diagnosis impaired memory include orientation, comprehension, memory, learning, and problem solving.

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