A nursing care plan for mental health begins with the diagnosis of a doctor and her recommendations for treatment. The doctor decides what the mental health needs are; the help required to meet these needs; the results the patient would like to achieve; and the best course of treatment for meeting those desires. Once established, a patient is admitted to a facility where a registered nurse (RN) assembles a nursing team to ensure recommended treatment is met.
The nursing team's first concern is the basic health needs of the patient. Can the patient perform activities of daily living (ADLs), without any assistance? ADLs include such basic tasks as feeding oneself, brushing teeth, washing, dressing and going to the bathroom. If the patient is not mentally capable of performing any of these tasks, they must be addressed, recorded and assigned to the various members of the nursing team.
Another objective of the nursing team is to identify and set goals with the patient. Activities of daily living are among the goals that are often set. If the patient has full use of his body, which is often the case, a goal could be set related to feeding. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is often assigned the task of feeding the patient. The RN in charge of the nursing team often sets a date, or a goal, of having the patient eat on his own. The CNA as part of the team then knows when to stop feeding the patient and to record the patient's success or failure to meet this goal.
In addition to physiotherapy and timely medications, empathy is an important part of any nursing team's plan. Empathy focuses on the importance of eye contact when addressing the patient. The simple act of touch, such as hand holding when addressing a patient, can go a long way in healing. Utilising the ability to read body language at times tells nursing team members what the patient does not say.
Sometimes communication in the verbal sense is not always possible, but it is possible to communicate through nonverbal means. It is important to have alternative means of communication, such as picture boards or pads and pencils. Picture boards with drawings such as food and water, bathroom or TV offer a means for a nonspeaking patient to express her desires. Communication is one of the most important tools for any nursing team.
Every nursing team member must document all interactions with the patient. Documentations include treatments, communications and progress made toward any goals set. The nursing team meets, assesses progress and redefines goals necessary toward achieving the ultimate goal of healing and returning the patient to an independent lifestyle.