Impaired Physical Mobility

A limitation in independent, purposeful physical movement of the body or of one or more extremities

Defining Characteristics:
  • Postural instability during performance of routine activities of daily living (ADLs); 
  • limited ability to perform gross motor skills; 
  • limited ability to perform fine motor skills; 
  • uncoordinated or jerky movements; 
  • limited range of motion; 
  • difficulty turning; 
  • decreased reaction time; 
  • movement-induced shortness of breath; 
  • gait changes (e.g., decreased walking speed, difficulty initiating gait, small steps, shuffles feet, exaggerated lateral postural sway); 
  • engages in substitutions for movement (e.g., increased attention to other's activity, controlling behavior, focus on preillness/predisability); 
  • slowed movement; 
  • movement-induced tremor

Related Factors:
  • Medications; 
  • prescribed movement restrictions; 
  • discomfort; 
  • lack of knowledge regarding value of physical activity; 
  • body mass index >30; 
  • sensoriperceptual impairments; 
  • neuromuscular impairment; 
  • pain; 
  • musculoskeletal impairment; 
  • intolerance to activity/decreased strength and endurance; 
  • depressive mood state or anxiety; 
  • cognitive impairment; 
  • decreased muscle strength, control, and/or mass; 
  • reluctance to initiate movement; 
  • sedentary lifestyle or disuse or deconditioning; 
  • selective or generalized malnutrition; 
  • loss of integrity of bone structures; 
  • developmental delay; 
  • joint stiffness or contractures; 
  • limited cardiovascular endurance; 
  • altered cellular metabolism; 
  • lack of physical or social environmental supports; 
  • cultural beliefs regarding age-appropriate activity

Suggested functional level classifications
0 Completely independent
1 Requires use of equipment or device
2 Requires help from another person for assistance, supervision, or teaching
3 Requires help from another person and equipment device
4 Dependent—does not participate in activity


NOC Outcomes (Nursing Outcomes Classification)

Suggested NOC Labels
  • Ambulation: Walking
  • Ambulation: Wheelchair
  • Joint Movement: Active
  • Mobility Level
  • Self-Care: Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Transfer Performance
Client Outcomes
  • Increases physical activity
  • Meets mutually defined goals of increased mobility
  • Verbalizes feeling of increased strength and ability to move
  • Demonstrates use of adaptive equipment (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers) to increase mobility
NIC Interventions (Nursing Interventions Classification)

Suggested NIC Labels
  • Exercise Therapy: Ambulation
  • Exercise Therapy: Joint Mobility
  • Positioning

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