One of the most important goals of nursing care is to provide comfort to patients and their families in all areas of practice. In order to provide comfort, nurses must be able to recognize and respond to each patient’s personal physical and mental needs and create a care plan. I selected theorist Dr. Katharine Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory who defines comfort as meeting the basic needs of the patient and represents the holistic approach to nursing care. Kolcaba’s theory of comfort is a mid-range nursing theory as it concepts are specific requirements of healthcare principles of providing care and it could be implemented to many situations. Dr. Kolcaba started to explore the concept of comfort theory in the 1980’s while working as a staff nurse in various clinical settings.
Based on her personal nursing experience she spent years developing and perfecting her theory conducting a concept analysis under different environmental circumstances. Kolcaba introduced comfort theory as a model for nursing care to ensure patients are properly cared for and comfortable, a key approach leading to their recovery. Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory is organized in three forms relief, ease and transcendence, followed with four contexts physical, psychospiritual, sociocultural and environmental. As described by Puchi, Paravic-Klijn, Salazar (2018) relief is a beneficial state of the patient when specific comfort needs are met.
For example if a patient experiences severe pain, then the consumption of proper medication will bring relief from the pain. Ease is a type of comfort under which the patient experiences calmness, happiness, and satisfaction. The third form of comfort is transcendence, a state when patients feel inner confidence to rise above their challenges. All three forms of comfort represent the basic needs that should be met to obtain the state of a desirable state. The four contexts in which a need for comfort is achieved are: physical referring to the needs of the body. Psychospiritual pertains to the internal self-awareness. Sociocultural is connected to the family and interpersonal relationships.
Lastly, environmental relates to the surrounding external influences and conditions. In a clinical setting comfort therapy can be initiated according to Krinsky, Murillo, Johnson (2014) by applying quite time procedures for cardiac patients such as: dimming the lights in the patient’s room and hallways reducing unnecessary stimuli. Maintaining correct limits and volume of cardiac monitoring equipment reducing inappropriate alarming so as to maximize the patient’s rest time. Comfort theory in today’s healthcare as indicated by Boudiab, Kolcaba (2015) is a value-added indicator to a patient’s outcome because it addresses both the want and need of both patients and families also this type of holistic care provided will enhance the morale and satisfaction of the healthcare care team members. In my opinion, the theory of comfort is highly useful in clinical practice.
It strives to embrace all aspects of patient comfort allowing for the creation and implementation of detailed nursing care plans. The structure of comfort can be complex in nature however the presented theory provides practical advises on how healthcare professionals could meet them. Since Kolcaba’s theory includes the healthcare needs of the patients, best medical practices and solutions, and intervening variables, the patients treated under this theory of comfort will show best outcomes regarding their health.