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An OCD Nursing Care Plan: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD Nursing Care Plan
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What Are Nurse Care Plans?

A nursing care plan lists all of the nursing interventions and care that a patient needs to be as healthy as possible. They are used for all medical problems, and drawn up by a registered nurse. As well as for physical health nurses, nursing care plans are commonly used in mental health services, both inpatient and outpatient, for all mental health problems.

In a psychiatric setting, they will be drawn up by a psychiatric-mental health nurse. (Take your pick of what you call yourself, as there was historical debate about whether we were mental health nurses or psychiatric nurses, but I won’t go into that here….)

You can buy care plan books on Amazon that list ready-made care plans that you can adapt.

But given that the key point of a nursing care plan is to produce individual care options tailored to your client’s feelings and client’s experience, you dont want to just cut and paste.

You will want to sit down with your patient, and that of course, can really help with building the therapeutic relationship.

This can be a lot of work, but a compromise that keeps the standard clinical recommendations and also takes into account how the particular person feels about their mental health issues, is to have a skeleton template care plan that you can modify.

That’s what we are suggesting here.

The typical skeleton plan of care consists of the following steps:

  1. Assessing a patient means getting information about his or her health history, current symptoms, and physical state.
  2. Nursing diagnosis is the process of figuring out what the patient’s health problems are and what causes them.
  3. Treatment goals: The nursing care plan should make it clear what the treatment goals are, as well as what the desired results are and what paitnet care is needed to get there.
  4. Nursing interventions: This section explains what the nurse will do to fix the patient’s health problems and reach the treatment goals.
  5. Evaluation and monitoring: The nursing care plan should explain how the nurse will keep track of the patient’s progress and judge how well the care is working.
  6. Patient education: This section should tell the patient how they can help take care of their own health and what they need to do to take care of themselves.
  7. Discharge planning: This is a list of all the steps that need to be taken for a patient to safely move from a hospital or clinic to their home or another care setting.

The nursing care plan should be made for each patient and changed often as the patient’s condition and needs change.

When we come to care plans for mental health disorders, the care planning, and especially the most important interventions must take account of accepted clinical practice guidelines.

Is Hyperfixation a symptom of anxiety?

Introduction to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

In the United States, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by repeated and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images (obsessions) that cause anxiety and the repeated performance of behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) to reduce that anxiety.

The compulsions take up a lot of time and get in the way of daily life and relationships. The person with OCD may know that their obsessions and compulsions are too much or don’t make sense, but they feel like they can’t stop them.

The compulsions are performed in response to the obsessions and serve to temporarily relieve anxiety, but ultimately reinforce the obsessions. OCD can cause significant distress, interfere with daily activities, and impact the quality of life for those who suffer from it.

OCD can also be co-morbid with more than one other psychiatric disorder. For example, there may be a specific phobia about germs, or social phobia which is about constant rumination about what others will think about the patient.

These are made worse in OCD by being accompanied by obsessive thoughts and compulsive acts performed repetitively in an attempt to alleviate the tension and anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of OCD can be very different, but some of the most common obsessions bring repetitive behaviors, like washing your hands, counting, or checking, and intrusive thoughts, like fear of getting sick, anger, or unwanted sexual thoughts.

People with OCD may experience significant anxiety and distress because of these uncontrollable thoughts, and may struggle with daily activities, such as going to work or school, due to their obsessions and compulsions.


The exact cause of OCD is not well understood, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors. It is not clear that OCD is be related to imbalances in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, in the brain. Childhood trauma, stress, and other environmental factors may also play a role in the development of OCD.

Because there is a large cross-over with motor tics and repetitive, stereotyped behaviours like counting, tapping, etc, there are some that believe it may be neurological disorder, not wholly different from Tourette’s Syndrome.

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Could Help


If left untreated, OCD can lead to a range of complications, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. People with OCD may also struggle with daily activities, such as going to work or school, and may experience difficulties in their personal relationships. In severe cases, OCD can lead to social isolation, substance abuse, and even suicide.

Treatment Options

Medication Management

Medication is a common treatment for OCD and can help to relieve symptoms, including anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often used to treat OCD and have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can help people with OCD to identify and challenge negative or intrusive thoughts and develop new, more positive patterns of thinking. CBT can be delivered one-on-one or in a group setting and may be combined with medication for maximum effectiveness.

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is specifically designed for people with OCD. ERP involves gradually exposing the person to the object or situation that triggers their obsessions, while preventing them from engaging in compulsive behaviors. Over time, this exposure can help to

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be very helpful in reducing anxiety and stress levels for patients with OCD. This can involve practicing deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. Mindfulness-based approaches, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), have been found to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. These techniques can be taught to patients by a therapist or trained professional, or through self-help resources such as books, CDs, or smartphone apps.

Family and Support Therapy

Family and support therapy can play an important role in the recovery process for patients with OCD. This type of therapy involves not only the patient, but also their family members, friends, and support system. The goal of family and support therapy is to educate loved ones about OCD, provide a supportive environment for the patient, and help families develop effective communication and coping strategies. This type of therapy can be provided by a therapist or trained professional, and can be done in a group or individual setting.

The Nursing Care Plan For OCD

We started out, looking at care plans in general, then we moved to give a brief overview of OCD. Now is time to put those together to create the OCD Nursing Care Plan.

Nursing care for patients with OCD is a crucial part of the overall treatment plan. Nurses play an important role in monitoring symptoms, providing emotional support, and helping patients implement effective coping strategies.

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Me And Toddy With Our Favourite Care Plan

Nursing Care Plan Outline

  • A nursing care plan for a patient with OCD may include the following:Assessing and monitoring symptoms on a regular basis
  • Collaborating with the interdisciplinary treatment team to develop and implement a comprehensive care plan
  • Providing a safe and supportive environment
  • Assisting with exposure and response prevention therapy, mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and other recommended treatments
  • Monitoring medications and adjusting as needed
  • Providing education and resources on OCD and effective coping strategies
  • Encouraging and supporting patients in their recovery journey

Step 1: Patient Assessment For OCD: Facts To Consider

Patient history:

The nurse should find out when the patient’s OCD symptoms started, how often and how bad their obsessions and compulsions are, and if they have ever been treated before. The nurse should also find out if there is a history of mental illness in the patient’s family and if the person has a history of trauma.


The nurse should include a thorough evaluation of his or her mental state. The nurse consider affect, psychomotor agitation or retardation, speech, rapport, perceptual disturbances, cognitive impairment from any cause, any formal thought disorder and an assessment of suicide risk.

Physical examination might include, weight, height, blood pressure, heart rate, but normally a full physical examination will be carried out by a doctor who may then request further tests such as bloods or ECG.

Comorbid conditions:

The nurse should check the patient for any comorbid conditions, such as drug abuse, eating disorders, or other health problems. When making a care plan, comorbid conditions should be taken into account because they can affect how OCD is treated and how well the patient gets better.

Review of medical records:

The nurse should look over the patient’s medical records, which should include past psychiatric evaluations, lab results, and a history of medications. This will help the nurse learn more about the patient’s OCD and how it has changed over time.

Step 2: The Nursing Diagnosis

A nursing diagnosis for a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Evaluation of symptoms:

The nurse should take a close look at the patient’s symptoms, such as how often and how bad their obsessions and compulsions are. The nurse should also find out how much the common compulsions impact the patient and how the symptoms affect their daily life.

Differential Diagnosis:

Depression, phobic disorders, panic disorder, anorexia nervosa, obsessive or narcissistic personality, and sometimes schizophrenia can be confused with OCD. Depressive disorders, generalised anxiety disorder, hypochondriasis, anxiety disorders, delusions, PTSD, tics, and other compulsive behaviours can also cause symptoms that are similar to OCD. It is important to make a differential diagnosis to rule out these others in order to correctly diagnose OCD and give the most effective treatment.

Consider the nursing process.

When making a nursing diagnosis for OCD, the nurse should take into account the patient’s symptoms, the results of the nursing assessment, and the nursing process. Gathering data, analysing that data, and making a plan of care based on that data are all parts of the nursing process.

Comparison with the NANDA-I Taxonomy:

To find the best nursing diagnosis, the nurse should compare the patient’s symptoms and assessment results with the NANDA-I (North American Nursing Diagnosis Association International) taxonomy.

Development of a nursing diagnosis:

After assessing and evaluating the patient, the nurse should come up with a nursing diagnosis that accurately describes the patient’s current state and OCD-related symptoms. Some nursing diagnoses for OCD include “Anxiety related to persistent intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours” and “Impaired Verbal Communication Related to Compulsive Rituals.”

SMART Outcomes:

The nursing diagnosis for OCD should be clear, measurable, and based on the specific needs and symptoms of each patient. The nursing diagnosis will help the nurse make a full care plan, decide which interventions are most important, and keep track of the patient’s progress toward recovery.

Step 3: Health Treatment Goals

The goal of nursing care for a person with OCD is to give personalised care that meets the person’s needs and addresses their worries. 

When making a plan of care, it’s important to take each person’s preferences and values into account. For example, some patients may want more structure and consistency in their daily lives, while others may want more flexibility. 

The main goal of nursing care for a person with OCD is to help improve their overall health and well-being. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by giving information (psychoeducation) and support, teaching relaxation techniques, and helping people deal with their symptoms and stressors. 

Overall, it’s important for people with OCD to live a healthy life. This means getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a balanced diet, and doing things that help them relax and forget about their problems.

Step 4: OCD Nursing Interventions

Nursing care for patients with OCD often includes:

Giving clear, step-by-step instructions on how to do everyday tasks (such as bathing, getting dressed, or eating). This can help patients feel that they have more control over their routines and surroundings.

Helping patients recognise and question their illogical thoughts and ways of thinking. This helps them become more aware of how they think and understand what’s really going on with their symptoms.

Advise the patient to engage in regular exercise routine.

Encourage patients to do things that are good for them, like spending time with family and friends, doing things they enjoy, or doing things outside. This can help them feel less alone and cut off from the rest of the world.

Supporting the health and well-being of patients as a whole by giving them physical and emotional help, education, and direction is an essential part of patient care. This can help lessen feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression and make life better overall.

Step 5: Evaluation and Monitoring

Nursing staff are really crucial when it comes to evaluating and monitoring people with OCD.

Because they have far more patient contact than any other healthcare professional, nurses can give important information about how a patient thinks, acts, and feels, and collaboratively develop s effective ways to distressing symptoms. 

Because of their key role they nurses are best placed to develop a warm therapeutic relationship and give patients support and reassurance by showing them care and understanding. 

Because of their key role they nurses are best placed to develop a warm therapeutic relationship and give patients support and reassurance by showing them care and understanding. Overall, the evaluation and monitoring of OCD patients by nurses is a very important part of providing quality care and helping patients on their way to recovery

As examples, a nurse might see red hands and know if there has been excessive washing or cleaning. They can observe that patients are cleaning the same things over and over.

They can spot unspoken obsessions about symmetry or alignment, or pick up when patients have trouble making decisions or setting priorities. 

Through counselling and other therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy, nurses also help patients deal with their symptoms (CBT). This last, even if you don’t use CBT is really important. Your evaluation and monitoring of a patient must be supportive and not that you are spying on them for the psychiatrist and reporting back. If they want to be discharged and feel you are spying on them, they will become guarded and your therapeutic relationship will go down the pan. Therapy is a good way to incorporate evaluation and monitoring with care and become really collaborative.

Step 6: Patient Education

Patient education is an important part of the nursing care plan for patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Educating patients about their condition can help them understand their symptoms, develop coping strategies, and improve overall well-being. Some examples of patient education for patients with OCD include:

  1. Understanding OCD: Patients should be educated on what OCD is, how it affects their thoughts and behaviors, and the types of treatments that are available.
  2. Medication Management: Patients should be informed about the types of medications that are used to treat OCD and their potential side effects. They should also be taught how to take their medication as prescribed and what to do if they experience any adverse reactions.
  3. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Patients should be taught about the principles of CBT and how it can help them manage their OCD symptoms. They should also be encouraged to attend therapy sessions regularly and participate in therapeutic exercises.
  4. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Patients should be taught various mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery, that can help reduce severe anxiety and manage OCD symptoms.
  5. Family and Support Therapy: Patients should be encouraged to involve their family and close friends in their care and to seek support from loved ones and support groups.
  6. Importance of Compliance: Patients should be informed about the importance of complying with their treatment plan and taking their medication as prescribed. They should also be encouraged to attend therapy sessions and participate in self-help groups.

Step 7: Discharge Planning

Patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) who are moving from an inpatient setting back into the community need to plan for their discharge. The goal of discharge planning is to make sure that patients leave the hospital with the help and resources they need to continue getting better.

Patients with OCD, their families, and the healthcare team need to work together to figure out when they are ready to go home. Among the things to think about are:

Clinical Stability: The patient’s health should be stable, and they should be able to handle their OCD symptoms without being hospitalised.

Medication management: The patient should be able to take care of their own medication schedule and understand why it’s important to do so. (Compliance ~ Concordance, whatever they are calling it these days.)

The patient should have made a lot of progress in therapy and have learned the skills and ways to deal with their symptoms that they need to be able to manage them in the community.

Access to resources: The patient should be able to get the help they need, like community mental health services, support groups, and therapy, to keep getting better after they’re discharged.

Patient and family readiness: The patient and their family should feel ready and prepared for the transition to care in the community and have a clear understanding of the care plan and support that is available to them.

When it is decided that the patient is ready to go home, the discharge plan should include a full list of resources and support services that the patient can use in the community. The plan should also include clear instructions on how to use these resources, as well as regular check-ins with the patient to make sure they are still making progress and getting better.

It is important for the inpatient and community teams to work together on the discharge planning process so that the patient has a smooth transition and continues to get support in the community.

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This one looks more like me, but that got me wondering. I would run if I saw him coming.

Conclusion and References

In conclusion, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life. Effective treatment for OCD typically involves a combination of medication and therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy, Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques, and Family and Support Therapy. Nursing care for individuals with OCD should prioritize creating a safe and supportive environment, and involve ongoing monitoring and assessment to adjust care as needed.

Recommended Nursing Resources for OCD

It is important to note that while these resources provide valuable information, they should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OCD, it is important to seek help from a qualified healthcare professional.

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