Schizophrenia Case Study

Meet the client:
Bob Tyler, a 40-year-old male, is brought to the emergency department by the police after being violent with his father. Bob has multiple past hospitalizations and treatment for schizophrenia. Bob believes that the healthcare providers are FBI agents and his apartment is a site for slave trading. He believes that the FBI has cameras in his apartment to monitor his moves and broadcast them on TV.
The nurse assesses that Bob’s behavior is guarded and suspicious. Based on this assessment, what is the most important nursing intervention?
Establish rapport and trust.
What is the most accurate assessment if the client believes that the healthcare providers are FBI agents and there are cameras in his apartment to monitor his moves?
Which behavior is characteristic of a thought disorder?
Disorganized speech.
The nurse understands that schizophrenia can be differentiated from psychosis by which assessment?
Negative symptoms.
(minimal eye contact, poor grooming and hygiene, and apathy)

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Which finding depicts negative symptoms of schizophrenia?
Flat affect and social inattentiveness.
Which nursing problem has priority?
Disturbed thought processes.
What is the reason that Prolixin is prescribed for this client?
Disorganized thoughts.
The nurse understands that a client with schizophrenia will experience which benefit from fluphenazine decanoate (Prolixin) if it is administered intramuscularly?
Maintain long-term medication compliance.
Which client behavior validates the need for involuntary hospitalization?
Violence towards father.
If a client who has voluntarily chosen to be hospitalized should want to leave the hospital, which assessment would be most important in deciding to release the client against medical advice (AMA)?
Potential danger to self or others.
The nurse reviews the routine admission lab and medication prescriptions, and notes that the client will resume the fluphenazine decanoate (Prolixin). The benztropine (Cogentin) has not been prescribed.

Which nursing action is best?

Obtain a prescription to begin the Cogentin.
Which side effects would the nurse most likely observe with fluphenazine decanoate (Prolixin), a traditional antipsychotic?
High extrapyramidal effects, low anticholinergic effects.
The nurse asks Bob if he has any allergies to medications. He reports an allergy to haloperidol (Haldol). The nurse asks him to describe the type of reaction he experienced. Bob states, “My neck got real stiff, and I couldn’t move it.”

What type of reaction should the nurse suspect?


(acute, tonic muscle spasms, often of the tongue, jaw, eyes, and neck, but sometimes of the whole body)

In addition to Bob’s thoughts that the FBI had cameras in his apartment and his moves were broadcast on TV, reassessment by the nurse indicates that he remains suspicious and guarded with orientation only to day and place. Bob believes that he is a famous movie star and explains to the nurse that a limousine driver will be there to get him later in the day.

How should the nurse respond?

“It sounds like you are anxious to leave here.”
How should the nurse interpret Bob’s belief that he is a famous movie star, and a limousine driver will arrive to get him later in the day?
Delusional thoughts.
In planning this client’s care, what is the most important short-term client outcome?
Interact without expressing delusional thoughts.
During reassessment of the client, the nurse notices that Bob sometimes pauses and mumbles something quietly to himself. He tilts his head to one side and then returns his attention to the nurse.

What is the best response by the nurse?

“Have you been hearing any voices?”
Which group will be most therapeutic for Bob?
Structured medication group.
“The medications cause too many side effects. I have been taking them for a long time.”

Based on Bob’s statement, which nursing problem should the nurse document for the group progress note?

Risk for adherence.
The following week another client in the group asks the nurse-leader why individuals develop schizophrenia.

Which understanding is most accurate?

This brain disorder has many predisposing factors and a biological basis.
How should the nurse explain symptom triggers (of schizophrenia) to the clients?
Symptom triggers can be related to health, the environment, or attitudes. (These triggers can be related to nutrition, lack of sleep, fatigue, housing difficulties, changes in life events, and feeling overpowered)
One client in the group asks, “Why do we need to know about symptom triggers?” Which explanation is best?
“Knowing symptom triggers and how to manage them can help prevent relapse.”
Which nursing assessment accurately describes Bob’s lack of energy?
Avolition. (lack of energy or drive)
Which nursing problem should be included on the treatment plan?
Social isolation.
Which data is most important to obtain before Bob begins the Zyprexa, which is an atypical antipsychotic?
Baseline weight.
Which side effects are characteristic of atypical antipsychotics?
Fewer extrapyramidal effects.
The nurse understands that an atypical antipsychotic like olanzapine (Zyprexa) requires what period of time to reach a steady state?
1 week.
Which medication with potentially life-threatening side effects should the nurse expect the healthcare provider to prescribe for clients who do not respond to the use of other antipsychotics?
Clozapine (Clozaril).
Bob awakens in the morning for the community meeting, but continues to answer questions only when asked. Answers to questions are simple, one-word answers without any elaboration.

Which speech process should the nurse document on the daily mental status exam record?

Poverty of speech.
When the nurse asks Bob to share one goal for the day in community meeting, he states, “I’m going to take a shower and . . .” He pauses for several seconds and begins talking again.

Which thought process does this exemplify?

Thought blocking.
The nurse further assesses Bob’s mental status to determine if he still has thoughts about FBI agents spying on him and hiding cameras in his apartment. The long-term goal is that Bob will not experience delusional thoughts by discharge.

Which intervention by the nurse will best assess if this goal has been met?

Talk to Bob for at least 20 minutes.
Because Bob was violent with his father prior to admission, another long-term goal is that the client will not verbalize the desire to harm self or others.

Which statement will assist the nurse to assess if this goal has been met?

“Do you think about hurting anyone now?”
What will be the most important group activity to promote wellness in the community?
Explore symptom management.
What is the first step the nurse should use to teach about effective symptom management?
Identify problem symptoms.
After implementing the first step, what step is taken next?
Identify current ways to manage symptoms.
One of the behavioral interventions that the nurse plans to teach the clients is ways to cope with symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.

Which strategy is best for clients who hear voices?

Avoid certain situations.
What is the most common cause of relapse in the client with schizophrenia?
A client in the wellness group states that he was taking his medications every day and started hearing voices more and had to be hospitalized.

What is the nurse’s best response?

“This can happen even if you are taking medications every day.”
What is the greatest benefit of a case worker for this client?
Coordinate services for Bob.
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