Comfort care is a kind of medical care that focuses on relieving symptoms and making patients as comfortable as possible as they experience recovery from illness or going through the dying process. Patients with a variety of health conditions can receive comfort care. This includes cancer patients, patients living with cardiac disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, and any other terminal or chronic illnesses and with these diseases, it is the nurse’s responsibility to be able to foresee the needs of a patient and provide holistic care and integrative approach. The main point of the nursing profession that separates itself from other healthcare professions is that nursing theory provides a systematic approach based on concepts, relationships, and research to advocate ownership and participation of the patient’s health . For this paper, Katharine Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort will be applied and integrated with making Oncology patients comfortable during their fight to survive or when the battle has been lost.
Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory
Nursing theory derived from frameworks and models explains ideas and the relationships that guide the art and science of nursing as a profession. The knowledge of nursing can also expand through evidence-based research and clinical practice to achieve patient-centered care (McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M., 2017). Integrating Katherine Kolcaba’s middle range theory of comfort can be effective in the realm of research, education and healthcare practice. According to Kolcaba, there are three kinds of comfort, which are, relief, ease, and transcendence (Kolcaba, K. A. T. H. A. R. I. N. E. ,2015). Comfort should be treated holistically, and the outcome is relief. The element of peace or satisfaction linked to individual needs that hinder comfort is known as ease. When the patient can express and find motivation and take ownership in making health a priority, comfort has been accomplished within the transcendence form. Kolcaba also claims comfort should be experienced in a physical, psychospiritual, environmental, and sociocultural aspect (Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort, 2016).
Pain and Comfort
Pain is more than one physiological sensation caused by a specific stimulus. “Pain management is a quintessential clinical imperative—it is the main motivation for people to see a health care worker” (Brennan, Lohman, Gwyther, 2019). A person’s perception of pain is just that, it is subjective and highly individualized and providing comfort is central to the art of nursing (Assessing Pain in Critically Ill Adults,2018). Pain is one of the most common symptoms in cancer patients (INDIAN J PALLIAT CARE, Jan-Mar2019). Cancer treatment can cause pain or a combination of factors. Tumors, surgery, IV chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, supportive care therapies such as bisphosphonates, and diagnostic procedures may also cause pain, even though pain can’t always be eliminated it can be decreased to a comfortable level and for the most part, can be controlled. When a person’s pain is being managed accordingly, the person experiencing the pain has a better quality of life (.
On my unit, which is a Gynecology oncology unit, when the women can no longer benefit from active treatment, comfort care can allow a better quality of life at the end of life and unlike almost every other form of medical treatment, making a person comfortable does not require seeking to cure or aggressively treat illness or disease. Instead, it simply brings focus on suppressing their symptoms and making them comfortable and placing comfort into a theory provides nurses with a rationale for helping cancer patients to be comfortable during there illness which leads to patients being satisfied with their care. The theory of comfort can be used as a guiding framework for completing pain and comfort assessments. Integrating the taxonomic structure of Kolcaba’s comfort theory allows nurses to identify comfort needs, create interventions specific to those needs and measure the effectiveness of the chosen interventions.