Katharine Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory
Katharine Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory
Nursing and care education entails numerous theories that can be learned and applied in the line of duty of nurse practitioners. Therefore, among the many theories, it is ideal to settle on Kolcaba’s theory of comfort for effective understanding of how the theory was developed, its concepts, and its effectiveness. The theory restored the potential of placing comfort in the frontline of nursing and healthcare operations and positive outcomes in patient care activities. This paper, therefore, aims at expounding into detail the Kolcaba’s Comfort theory through description, analysis, and evaluation of the theory in relation to nursing and healthcare services.
Purpose of the Theory
Kolcaba’s Comfort theory is a mid-range Theory in nursing and conceptual context that was first generated about three decades ago. The Theory has however been regenerated and polished as per the current society, and it thus challenges nurse practitioners to always consider the comfort of patients while handling them (Kolcaba 2015). Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory entails various aspects that are relevant and applicable to the operations of nurses in their line of duty of restoring harmony to the issues affecting them health wise.
Concepts and Definitions
The main concept of this theory is comfort. The concept of comfort can be distinguished into three forms, i.e. ease, relief and transcendence and all these forms of comfort can be viewed in terms of physical, environmental, psychospiritual, and social-cultural (Kolcaba 2015). Comfort is vital to the operations of nursing since through relieving the pain, laying the body at ease and total relaxation, the patient is able to recover and feel okay. When the patient’s body is under stress, this may delay the process of recovering, and therefore, comfort is very crucial in healing and enhancing the condition of the patient thereby improving the quality of life.
Apart from the concept of comfort, there are other important concepts that have been incorporated in Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory. These concepts include measures of comfort, healthcare needs, health-seeking behaviors, variables for intervention, and institutional integrity (McEwen & Wills, 2017). Measures of comfort requirements are the nursing interventions that aim at restoring harmony and stability for the well being of the patient. Healthcare needs are the needs of the patient that will restore comfort under a stressing health period. Variables for intervention are the previous encounters of the patient in liaison to healthcare and thoughts about healthcare. The idea of the behaviors of health-seeking was developed by Schlotfedt Rozella in the year 1975 and implies that outcomes of the patient that can be external, internal or a calm death. The integrity of an institution is explained by the actual situations that entail emphasis or qualities for holistic interventions.
According to Kolcaba, there are three interventions that are vital in restoring comfort in a patient, and they include management of the pain; assessment of the vitals, medical administration, and helping of the patient to regain physically by preventing the negative issue from recurring again (McEwen & Wills, 2017). The second intervention is coaching which entails supporting the patient to develop attainable goals for anxiety reduction, fear or worry, recovery or death, and also encouraging the patient to listen and be flexible to ideas. The last intervention is ensuring a “comfort food” for an individual that recognizes the ancient nursing ideologies. This may be the actual food that the patient loves and upon consuming it restores comfort in him/her, massage or music therapy or environmental alterations that may promote peace and comfort in the patient (Saragopsill, 2013). Generally, a combination of all the concepts of the Comfort Theory of Kolcaba can lead to a significant change in the life of the patient and healthcare encounter.
All the Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory concepts are rooted and interconnected to one another. To ensure comfort, Kolcaba entails the important forms of assessment of the patient, diagnosis, drawing of intervention and a care plan and evaluation of the nursing process (Saragopsill, 2013). Assessment of the patient entails checking the patient needs that may derail comfort interventions and the objectives of seeking health behaviors and development of actions that will promote the well being of the patient through holistic and effective treatment. Statements in regard to the correlation of the concepts have been elaborated effectively throughout the entire theory thus making it ideal for someone to incorporate them. Also, the concepts flow in a continuous form through a structured framework.
Assumptions of person, environment, health, and nursing have been described within the Comfort Theory by Kolcaba. According to the theory, a patient is the person, family, community or organization that requires the healthcare service. Health is elaborated as the “optimal operation” as understood by the person, family, or community surrounding that will seek the services of the nurse practitioner to acquire comfort (Smith & Parker, 2015). Nursing is referred as the assessment of the needs of the patient, offering intervention services to ensure restoration of comfort in the patient and then evaluating the patient to affirm whether the intervention plan worked out effectively as aimed or not.
Patient assessment can be either objective or subjective. It can be objective in a manner like measuring a healing wound or subjective like interrogating the patient if he/she is in pain or not. There are numerous concepts in the theory that give a lead and guidance on how it can be applied for practical nursing activities (Saragopsill, 2013). The theory elaborates comfort and an holistic activity and illustrates its three aspects which include ease, relief and transcendence.
Therefore, when the patient requires ease, relief and transcendence, and they are effectively availed under the four backgrounds i.e. physical, environmental, social and psychospiritual so that the patient can acquire the strength directly (Smith & Parker, 2015). The patient acquires relief out of the pain after operation through administration of the appropriate analgesia which generates comfort in the patient through the sense of relief. Ease is acquired after anxiety or fear is overted through treatment. Similarly, transcendence may be obtained through an instance like the patient attaining a particular goal/objective in the process of healing. Indeed, the Kolcaba’s definitions are practical since many of them can be applied by nurses in their daily operations to restore comfort and well being of the patient.
Analysis of the Theory
Origin of the Theory
The theory was first written and developed in the 1990s but was not effected yet. By the early 2000, the theory began to be understood and now began to be fully implemented and adopted by healthcare and nurse practitioners.
Unique Focus and Content of the Theory
Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory has been generated in a manner that enables it to be applied under a practical environment and for all the populations. It has the concept of ensuring comfort to the patient which helps a patient to quickly heal and relax (Smith & Parker, 2015). Despite the situation or life stage of the patient, the theory is always effective and applicable in promoting quality life and well being of that patient. It is indeed evident that the theory can be applicable in other areas apart from nursing and educational fields. The aspect of comfort to the patient is very vital in ensuring that he/she acquires ease and relaxation which are the main factors that steer healing.
Evaluation of the Theory
The theory is in agreement with the existing literature reviews and operates in a simple and direct manner and it can be easily applied into real-life situations in healthcare activities by nurses (McEwen & Wills, 2017). This is because it brings a direct solution to the basic issues of handling and treating patients. Also, the theory works hand in hand with nursing practices and operations in enhancing the well being of patients. Due to its relevance, it is thus vital for practice among all the nurse practitioners so that they can effectively assess and ensure quality interventions to patients.
Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort is entailed a lot of vital aspects and concepts that can be applied in the healthcare operations and medication services for patients. The theory offers guidance and knowledge for making decisions by in the nursing process by overting pain and discomfort in a patient and restoring ease and relaxation in a patient. Therefore, upon describing, analyzing and evaluating the theory, it can be affirmed that it is an effective theory and should be integrated into the operations of nurses to promote quality and well being of patients.
Kolcaba, K. A. T. H. A. R. I. N. E. (2015). Katherine Kolcaba’s comfort theory. Nursing theories and nursing practice, 381-392.
McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2017). Theoretical basis for nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Saragopsill. (2013, September 29). Analysis of Katherine Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort. Retrieved from https://saragopsill.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/analysis-of-katherine-kolcabas-theory-of-comfort/
Smith, M. C., & Parker, M. E. (2015). Nursing theories and nursing practice. FA Davis.
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