NSG 4055 Illness and Disease Management across Lifespan Project Part 2

NSG 4055 Illness and Disease Management across Lifespan Project Part 2

NSG 4055 Illness and Disease Management across Lifespan Project Part 2

This project focuses on mental health and mental health disorders since they significantly affect the quality of life of affected individuals and their families.  In week one, I interviewed K.H, a 35-year-old male diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after exhibiting delusions and hallucinations, which alternated with depressive symptoms. Schizoaffective disorder is diagnosed when there is an uninterrupted duration of mental disorder during which there is a major mood episode, either manic or depressive, in addition to schizophrenia (Miller & Black, 2019).  This paper seeks to describe the information collected about a person with schizoaffective disorder and discuss how the information will direct care plan development.

Questionnaire Responses

            K.H’s responses from the questionnaire I administered in week 1 identified that he has little or no interest in engaging in pleasurable activities more than half of the days. He feels down, depressed, and hopeless nearly every day, indicating a severe depressed mood. K.H reported having sleeping difficulties to some degree with problems initiating and maintaining sleep. As a result, he feels tired and has low energy levels more than half of the days. He also reported having a poor appetite which has contributed to a significant weight loss. Besides, K.H admitted that he feels bad about himself most of the days and feels that he has let himself and his family down since the disease greatly affected his occupational and social functioning.

K.H stated that he experiences difficulties in concentrating most of the days, which has adversely impacted his occupational productivity. Nevertheless, he denied having psychomotor retardation or having suicidal and homicidal thoughts or ideations.  Based on K.H’s responses from the questionnaire, I concluded that he has a major depressive disorder since he had four ticks in depressive symptoms occurring more than half the days and one tick in symptoms occurring nearly every day.

Acceptance of the Diagnosis

            Being diagnosed with a mental illness such as schizoaffective disorder can be particularly difficult to deal with for patients and their families. Many patients diagnosed with mental disorders live in denial of the diagnosis, which significantly affects their recovery.  Acceptance is usually the first step towards recovery since it drives individuals to take the steps needed to better their mental health. K.H has accepted his diagnosis to a greater degree after being in denial for about three years, which resulted in the diagnosis worsening. K.H’s acceptance of his diagnosis is demonstrated by his interest in understanding the schizoaffective diagnosis, including the symptoms. During the interview, he explained what schizoaffective disorder is and the features associated with it.  Besides, he has taken the initiative to understand the causes of schizoaffective disorder and is determined to addressing the root cause through medication and psychotherapy. He has also taken the initiative to learn the management of schizoaffective disorder and is complying with treatment.

NSG 4055 Illness and Disease Management across Lifespan Project Part 2
NSG 4055 Illness and Disease Management across Lifespan Project Part 2

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            H.K’s family has accepted his condition and is greatly helping him with his treatment. His family helped him move from the denial to the acceptance stage and has been his biggest support system. The family and friends accepted the diagnosis by first learning schizoaffective disorder, its symptoms, identifying warning signs and suicidal risk, and treatment interventions. Besides, the family went for therapy to understand how to support a person diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. The family members encouraged H.K to accept treatment and attend psychotherapy sessions, which immensely helped to increase his medication compliance. Besides, H.K’s family and friends helped him to get rid of negative attitudes and beliefs about mental disorders treatment, which prevented him from accepting his diagnosis and treatment. 

Coping Skills

Schizoaffective disorder is a life-changing condition for patients and their families. H.K has been coping with the schizoaffective disorder by making lifestyle choices that support personal growth and long-term health. One of the lifestyle choices that H.K reports have helped him in his recovery journey is exercising regularly and following a healthy diet plan. He states that he follows a nutritious, well-balanced diet limiting excess sugar and fat, tobacco, and alcohol. A healthy diet helps regulate mood and keep one focused on preserving their health (Miller & Black, 2019). Alcohol worsens depressive symptoms, and alcohol may adversely interact with antidepressants (Miller & Black, 2019). In addition, the patient has a sleep schedule, which enables him to have adequate rest and has helped him develop effective sleeping habits.  H.K finds writing therapeutic since he relieves his stress by writing about his thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Writing has been an effective stress management strategy that has helped him cope with his diagnosis.


            The treatment of schizoaffective disorder comprises both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. H.K’s mainstay of pharmacotherapy includes antipsychotics to target psychotic symptoms and antidepressants, which target depressive symptoms (Assion et al., 2019). The patient is on Invega Sustenna 9mg orally once daily to treat delusion and hallucination (Assion et al., 2019). He is also on Prozac 40 mg orally once daily dose, which targets the depressive symptoms.

In addition, to medication treatment, H.K’s treatment plan has incorporated psychotherapy, including individual and family psychotherapy.  Individual therapy for schizoaffective disorder aims to control thought processes, help the patient understand the disorder, and alleviate symptoms (Lopez-Fernandez et al., 2018). Psychotherapy focuses on the client’s daily goals, social interactions, and conflict, including social skills training and vocational training. Family therapy has helped to promote compliance with treatment and appointments (Lopez-Fernandez et al., 2018). It also aids in providing a structure throughout the patient’s life. Supportive family therapy helps if the patient has been in social isolation, which offers a sense of shared experiences among the family members.

Support Aspects of the Illness

Persons diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder often require assistance and support with daily functioning.  Support from family and friends plays a vital role in helping the patient recover from schizoaffective disorder and decreasing the possibility of having future episodes (Lopez-Fernandez et al., 2018). H.K’s family and friends have provided him immense support by giving him positive reinforcement since he often judges himself harshly and finds fault with everything he does. The family has created a low-stress environment, which helps him feel more in control, especially during his depressive state.  Also, the family members help make a schedule for medication, meals, physical activity, and sleep.  The family and friends also offer a listening ear and have let H.K know that they always want to understand how he feels. H.K has joined a peer support group for persons with depressive disorders where they receive counseling and other resources for depression.

How the Information Will Direct Care Plan Development for the Chosen Illness Group

            The interview analysis findings will direct the care plan for persons with schizoaffective disorder by identifying the priority interventions to help address common concerns. The analysis reveals that depression is a major concern for persons with schizoaffective disorder. As a result, the care plan should prioritize alleviating depressive symptoms in patients through medications such as SSRIs (Assion et al., 2019). SSRIs are preferred over TCAs and SNRIs due to their lower risk for adverse drug effects and tolerability.

Schizoaffective disorder adversely affects the mood of patients, and thus psychotherapy should be incorporated into the care plan. Patients should receive therapy that includes the family since it is a vital support system. Psychotherapy interventions should develop patients’ social skills and cognitive rehabilitation (Lopez-Fernandez et al., 2018).  The care plan should also include stress-reduction techniques to guide patients in expressing their emotions and preventing relapse. Furthermore, medication noncompliance is a special concern for patients. The care plan should include interventions to monitor treatment adherence for medications and psychotherapy sessions.


            I interviewed a 35-year-old male with schizoaffective disorder having depression as the major mood disorder. The client has accepted his diagnosis and is taking the initiative to understand the diagnosis and management. Besides, the family and friends have accepted the diagnosis and encourage him to comply with treatment. His coping skills focus on healthy lifestyle choices and expressing his thoughts through writing. His treatment includes pharmacotherapy with an antipsychotic and antidepressant, as well as individual and family psychotherapy.  The care plan for persons with schizoaffective disorder should focus on depressive symptoms, regulating mood, stress reduction, social skills, and cognitive rehabilitation.

Appendix: Questionnaire Response

 Not at all (0)Several days (1)More than half the days (2)Nearly every day (3)
I have little or lack interest in doing things   X 
I feel down, depressed, and hopeless   X
I sleep too much or have difficulties in sleeping or maintaining sleep X  
I feel tired and lack energy  X 
I have poor appetite or over eat X  
I feel bad about myself or feel a failure or have let yourself and others down  X 
I have difficulties in concentrating  X 
I am slow in talking or doing things and people have noticed itX   
Feeling that you would have hurt yourself or kill yourselfX   


Assion, H. J., Schweppe, A., Reinbold, H., & Frommberger, U. (2019). Pharmacological treatment for schizoaffective disorder. Der Nervenarzt90(1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00115-018-0507-3

Lopez-Fernandez, E., Sole, B., Jimenez, E., Salagre, E., Gimenez, A., Murru, A., Bonnín, C., Amann, B. L., Grande, I., Vieta, E., & Martínez-Aran, A. (2018). Cognitive Remediation Interventions in Schizoaffective Disorder: A Systematic Review. Frontiers in psychiatry9, 470. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00470

Miller, J. N., & Black, D. W. (2019). Schizoaffective disorder: A review. Annals of clinical psychiatry: official journal of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists31(1), 47-53.