Nursing theory refers to an explanation of some facets of the nursing profession. In order to provide the widest and most applicable knowledge for use in nursing practice and research, this explanation or description is proposed in a methodical approach. Three main categories of nursing theories can be distinguished based on their focus on either broad ideas or models of common situations. If one is trying to use a theory or model from the field of nursing that isn’t appropriate for the scenario at hand, one will have a hard time.
Midrange nursing theories are useful guides for putting Theory into practice. They are also used as research frameworks. Theories that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum include broad and detailed principles and methods for providing excellent treatment to patients (Risjord, 2019). Despite being less theoretically abstract than grand theories, the largest obstacle to successfully implementing middle-range theories is that they do not address individual patients or their particular issues. While these ideas will provide nurses with helpful guidance, they cannot be used to address patient situations that are truly one-of-a-kind. This paper will present a nursing theory that falls in the middle: the comfort theory. The paper will discuss how the Theory is put into practice, how it is evaluated, and what it adds to the field of nursing as a whole.
Comfort Theory Description
Comfort, as a PMHNP, is an essential trait that all psychiatric patients actively pursue. An essential human drive is a desire for a condition of physical comfort and the relief of suffering. By centring on the three pillars of nursing—research, education, and health practice—Professor Katharine Kolcaba developed Comfort Theory in the 1990s to guide the assessment and evaluation of patient comfort (TK & Chandran, 2017). The approach is based on prioritizing the needs of patients in terms of their level of comfort as the primary goal of nursing. It was created by Katharine Kolcaba and took inspiration from multidisciplinary nursing, making it applicable to fields as diverse as English, medicine, economics, nursing, psychology, and psychiatry (TK & Chandran, 2017). Kolcaba argued convincingly that there are three distinct senses in which one might experience comfort: transcendence, ease, and alleviation. All three of these aids worked together to provide the patient with the required comfort. In conclusion, the conveniences suggested attending to the larger component of a holistic nursing approach.
The Purpose of Comfort Theory
The four fundamental tenets of nursing theory are care of the individual, the community, and care of the health care system nursing. As opposed to nursing’s singular emphasis on the nurse, the fields of health, environment, and person all focus on the patient and client and on the person receiving care (March & McCormack, 2019). Concepts are the overarching ideas that make up a theory. Joined by interconnected statements termed propositions. With this in mind, comfort theory aims to provide light on the connection between Kolcaba’s identified major concepts and propositions. Regarding explaining phenomena, comfort theory occupies a middle ground because it details the mechanisms through which various have a connection.
Scope of the Theory
Disciplines have their unique structures that are interconnected with the overarching field. In the framework of human understanding, theories play an integral role. The theorist settles on the Theory’s scope after deciding what it will explain and how it will be applied. Theories at the intermediate level present ideas and claims at a less generalized level than those at the most basic or advanced levels of knowledge (TK & Chandran, 2017). As a result of its moderate number of concepts and low level of abstraction, Kolcaba’s Theory of comfort is classified as a moderate-level theory. When applied to a psychiatric ward, Kolcaba’s idea will help make patients more at ease emotionally.
The Concepts and Proposition of the Comfort Theory
The comfort theory provides a methodical framework for meeting the whole care requirements of patients. This Theory puts forth three hypotheses: first, that enhanced comfort is the intended objective of care; second, that patients’ engagement in health-seeking behaviours (HSBs) improves with higher comfort; and third, that increased engagement in HSBs results in increased institutional integrity. The primary ideas in Kolcaba’s Theory are the following: healthcare requirements, reassuring treatments, intervening factors, increased comfort, health-seeking behaviours, institutional integrity, best practices, and best policies (TK & Chandran, 2017). Having a healthcare need means experiencing a difficult medical scenario that has prompted a need for comfort that your current support system cannot address. Environmental, social, cultural, mental, and spiritual health care are all important aspects of care. Interventions aimed at bringing solace to satisfy fundamental human requirements. The degree to which one feels at ease is affected by external factors. Health-seeking behaviours (HSBs) are results related to the patient’s health quest. Best policies pertain to protocols surrounding the delivery and access to healthcare, while best practices are defined as healthcare actions in a Psychiatric unit that provide the best potential outcomes. Providing health treatment that is both ethical and comprehensive is an integral part of maintaining a trustworthy institution. It would be better for an institution if all its practitioners were led by the comfort principle when providing care rather than only nurses.
Assumptions of the Theory
Comfort was one of Kolcaba’s recognized needs. Since it was considered that patients were experiencing comfort on a holistic level, mental and social factors were considered when scoring how relaxed they felt (TK & Chandran, 2017). Self-comfort can be attained through healthy or unhealthy means, with the former leading to a more robust sense of health and happiness.
Origin of the Theory
In the 1990s, nurse educator and researcher Kolcaba Comfort created her Theory of nursing’s “three pillars”: research, education, and practice. The Theory is predicated on prioritizing convenience over discomfort. Nursing theory, and by extension, patient care (TK & Chandran, 2017). Created by Katharine Kolcaba, it draws on the principles of multidisciplinary nursing to encompass fields as diverse as English, medicine, economics, nursing, psychology, and psychiatry.
Functional Components of Comfort Theory
The theoretical and operational assumptions, the logical arrangement, and the proclaimed outcomes are all functional components of Kolcaba’s Theory. How a theory explains, describes, or makes predictions can be evaluated by looking at the concepts within it and the roles, those concepts play.
Comfort- All humans, regardless of social status, seek environments that make them feel at ease. Comfort and freedom from pain are two of humanity’s most fundamental motivators. Patients experience a sense of transcendence when their unique comfort needs are addressed by their nurses, when they are at “easy,” and when they can triumph over adversity with the support of those nurses. We find solace in various settings that nurture our bodies, homes, spirits, and communities.
Regularly, medical staff members ask how their patients and their loved ones are doing in terms of comfort. Every activity is taken with the specific goal of satisfying those requirements. Kolcaba designed forms for managing and quantifying comfort.
Organization of the Theory Concepts
To help categorize the ideas behind this hypothesis, Kolcaba created a comfort taxonomy. The layout considers the many settings in which comfort might be experienced. Claim that the arrangement depicts the nursing concept of comfort as an outcome, and use it to describe the arrangement. This Theory’s structure is geared toward monitoring patients’ levels of satisfaction to help nurses determine whether or not their care is meeting their needs (Puchi et al., 2019). The analysis of the interventions in place provides a quantitative measure of the comfort notion.
Outcomes of the Comfort Theory
When PMHNP is successful in making patients more at ease, it will provide theoretical support for the use of Kolcaba’s comfort hypothesis. Patient satisfaction is the gold standard for evaluating healthcare quality (Puchi et al., 2019). According to comfort theory, patient-centred care that prioritizes patients’ comfort can have a positive effect on their health and well-being as a whole. An individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being is all improved, and recovery is aided as a result of the patient’s perspective and the level of comfort achieved.
Significance of the Theory
According to Kolcaba, comfort is a universal desire for release, relaxation, or transcendence from the stresses associated with receiving medical care. Patients, family members, and healthcare providers are more likely to seek medical attention when they feel at ease. The aim served by comfort theory is achieved because it provides a framework for the health care team to use in guiding interventions and nursing practice towards positive outcomes.
The comprehensiveness of the Theory
According to Kolcaba, the holistic nature of the Comfort hypothesis is a direct result of the kind of treatment that puts the patient and their family first. Kolcaba, drawing on the principles of holistic medicine, identified four areas—the patient’s body, mind, community, and surroundings—in which they may find solace (Puchi et al., 2019). Kolcaba identified three separate forms of solace: relief, ease, and transcendence. A sense of relief is experienced when a person’s want or need is satisfied. The feeling of ease comes from having a positive outlook on life. Alternatively, transcendence refers to a condition in which patients, with the support of caregivers, are able to overcome their challenges despite their external environment. To achieve success, one must take into account all four settings and all three forms of ease simultaneously. When addressing a patient’s medical concerns, comfort measures take into account every possible option.
Nursing principles and domains like symptom assessment, requirement determination, and care all align with the comfort theory’s overarching purpose. Together with their medical staff, people can take an active role in their care by applying the principles of collaborative care (March & McCormack, 2019). The traditional goal of nursing is supported by the comfort hypothesis, which emphasizes the importance of the patient and promotes the patient’s right to make decisions regarding his or her care. Self-care is an integral element of one’s health and well-being and should be encouraged as part of a nurse’s practice based on a theoretical framework of comfort.
The nurse can better assess the patient’s requirements and determine the most effective nursing interventions by applying the concepts of comfort theory. One of the main functions of a nurse is to analyze and evaluate a patient’s condition in order to determine the best course of action to meet the patient’s needs (Puchi et al., 2019). The relevance of the comfort hypothesis lies in the fact that it guarantees health care practice will be geared toward holistic solutions that have beneficial effects on patient comfort.
Contribution to Nursing
Nursing focuses on avoiding situations that are known to cause pain. The comfort principle is an important part of nursing since it prioritizes patient satisfaction. Not only are patients’ needs satisfied when obtaining comfort is a shared aim between the clinician and the patient, but the hospital’s reputation and HSBs are also strengthened.
The quality of a patient’s stay in a hospital and their level of satisfaction with the care they receive are important metrics for administration since they can affect budgets and other resources. Patients are more likely to report happiness with care when nurses employ calming measures (Martins et al., 2022). Contributions from Kolcaba’s Theory have a favourable effect on nursing; patients recall comfort treatments, and any member of the healthcare team can perform them.
In conclusion, Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory positions patient comfort as the optimal goal of medical intervention. According to Kolcaba, comfort is one of humanity’s fundamental requirements. As we’ve seen in the preceding paragraphs, this Theory provides a means to verify the effectiveness of comfort measures adopted by patients. By comparing Kolcaba’s comfort theory to the nursing metaparadigm, it was concluded that it is applicable to this field.
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Puchi, C., Paravic-Klijn, T., & Salazar, A. (2018). The comfort theory is a theoretical framework applied to a clinical case of the hospital at home. Holistic Nursing Practice, 32(5), 228-239. DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000275
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