Comfort Concept Analysis

Comfort Concept Analysis


ComfortConcept Analysis

ComfortConcept Analysis

Thispaper is a concept analysis of Katherine Kolcaba`s Theory of comfort.The theory is mostly concerned with ensuring that patients get thedesired level of comfort. It is argued by many medical practitionersthat instead of giving patients medication to ease out their pain, itis required that nurses enhance the patients` comfort and help theirfamilies to cope with difficult times. This desire to ensure thatpatients are comfortable is what led to the concept analysis ofcomfort. Comfort theory is important in nursing as it gives medicalexperts positive outcomes. Comfort, therefore, according to thetheory is referred to as a positive outcome that leads to increaseddemand in health seeking behavior and facilitates to positiveoutcomes in health institutions. To carry out an effective analysis,it is necessary to be aware of the meaning and the concepts ofcomfort as described in the comfort theory by Katherine (Kolcaba,2003).

Aimsor Purpose

Theterm ‘Concept’ espouses different meanings to different peopleand of different calibers in the society. Several scholars have shedlight on this concept and the general definition depicted is that ofphysical easiness or being in a state of distress, where one is freefrom any iota of pain of mere feeling of constraint (Kolcaba&amp DiMarco, 2004, 187-194).Since the concept of comfort elicits different notions to differentquotas, this forms the main purpose of this analysis, as it seeks tounderstand and elaborate the true definition of the comfort theory asit relates to the daily routines and professional practice of nurses.


KatherineKolcaba (2013) in her theory states that nurses are frequentlyconsidering three types of comfort, and they aim at moving theirpatients towards the transcendence phase. They do this without theprior knowledge of their patients, though it is for their good.Comfort theory implies that the nurses and other medicalpractitioners assess the physical, sociocultural, psychospiritual andenvironmental needs of their patients (Kolcaba&amp DiMarco, 2004,187-194).In her theory, Katherine argues that in the event of assessing theabove concepts, they are determining the limitations of thephysiological techniques of the patients. Some of the physicalcomfort needs of the patients that can be treated by the nurseswithout the use of medication are nausea, pain, shivering, itching,and vomiting. According to Katherine, the nurses can make use ofdifferent intervention methods to assist them alleviate the patients`problems and increase their satisfaction (Goodwin, Sener &ampSteiner, 2007,278‐285).

Accordingto Kolcaba &amp DiMarco (2004,187-194),the psycho-spiritual needs of the patients that are required to beaddressed by the nurses comprise of teaching confidence andmotivational process through discomfort. Some of the measures thatare suggested to be used by the nurses in comforting their patientsinclude massaging, giving them the caring touch, allowing people tovisit them and continued encouragement. They opine that patients alsorequire sociocultural comfort needs and according to Katherine, thisrefers to the needs that enable the patients to be assured of theircultural participation and encourage the use of positive bodylanguage used by the nurses. All these can be possible throughencouragement, coaching and explaining to patients the proceduresthat will lead to their comfort. Patients are also required to haveenvironmental comfort that entails a comfortable and quiteenvironment. According to Katherine, it is the role of the nurses toensure that their patients achieve this kind of environment byclosing the door, lowering the amount of light, limiting the amountof noise in the patients` rooms and minimally interrupting theirsleep (Kolcaba, 2003).

Kolcaba&amp DiMarco (2004,187-194)postulate that since in most cases the patients are nonverbal, healthcaregivers are required to interpret every action made by the patientand find out what may be causing them to be uncomfortable and thenleading to their disruptive behaviors. From this kind of assessment,it can be suggested that nurses should implement the care plans thatshould aim at treating the patients` underlying issues. This shouldalso enable the patients to lead the comfortable life that furtherresults to the improved patient care system. The works of Katherineare important as it describes the theory of comfort, the majorconcepts in nursing, their relationships and the techniques that canassist the nurses to measure the patients` comfort in a variety ofenvironment. Kolcaba came up with this theory after a tougheranalysis of the comfort theory concepts in the nursing. According toGoodwin, Sener &amp Steiner (2007, 278‐285),there are two dimensions that deal with the nursing and in thehandling of the patients. The first dimension that Kolcaba dealt withconsisted of three states namely: ease, relief, and transcendence.The second dimension is derived from the context in which comfort canbe determined.

Usesof the Concept in Nursing

Comfortis a fundamental concept in the treatment process and the recovery ofthe patients. Comfort in the current era is very important, and it ismore than what it was used to imply in the past. According toKolcaba, comfort in the past was valued in the nursing sector due tolack of medical treatment and medications was not developed duringthat moment. According to the theory, comfort has the objective ofimproving the patients physically and mentally as well. This goes along way towards ensuring that patients have the peace of mind andthat they are stable in order to enhance their healing process andenable them develop a positive attitude towards their ailments. It isimperative to note that this will help cut down on the periodspatients spend in the hospital. The emphasis of the comfort theory ismainly concerned with the fact that when the patients together withtheir families feel satisfied, it is obvious that they will beinvolved in more health seeking behaviors in life. The health-seekingbehaviors comprise of external behaviors, internal behaviors and apeaceful death in the event where the patient fails to adapt to thestated medication (Kolcaba&amp DiMarco, 2004,187-194).


Variousdistinctive characteristics help differentiate the Comfort theoryfrom any other. According to Kolcaba &amp DiMarco (2004,187-194),the various defining attributes of the comfort theory are such thateach patient defines and interprets the concept of comfortdifferently such that what is considered comfortable to one may notnecessarily be comfortable to another party and that is the way itshould be. Secondly, different patients may experience comfortthrough different mediums and this may espouse of physical touch,sociocultural attributes, psychological notions and in other casesmay include the patient’s surrounding, that is, what is comprisedin the environment around them.


Theauthor identifies clearly the major concepts and describes each ofthe concepts in the context in which they appear by providingrelevant examples. Kolcaba describes each of the concepts in the wayin which the concept is applied to the patient in the hospital setup. The author is clear in her theory and therefore, she hasdescribed the concepts as the way it affects the outpatient setting.The authors approach comfort is very clear but the way other expertsapproach her definition can at a given point be misleading to thereaders. The definition of comfort is changing as time goes by andas the technology advances in the world. The definition, therefore,is expanding to incorporate a wider aspect of health behaviors. Thekey concepts of the theory used by the author remain consistentthroughout her explanation of the theory (Kolcaba&amp DiMarco, 2004,187-194).

WhenKolcaba first started defining the fundamental concept of the comforttheory, the four key contexts of holistic encounter that wereidentified were a psychospiritual comfort, physical comfort,environmental comfort and social comfort. Currently, the socialcomfort has been expanded to take the care of cultural aspects andnow is referred to as sociocultural comfort. The theory shows itsadequacy as it claims that it can be used and applied to any of theage group or care setting. In the comfort theory, Kolcaba givesexamples of comfort measures and state how these measures work in thehospital set up However, the limitations of this theory is that theauthor Kolcaba does not state how this health seeking behaviors canmodify the nursing sector or the companies where the patients workin. The theory addresses issues relating to comfort and how comfortimproves the patients` outcome (Kolcaba, 2003).

However,the theory fails to address and adequately expand issues relating tohow comfort measures can be utilized by the nurses and patientsoutside the hospital setup. Therefore, the author should considerexpanding her theory to suit an institution-wide approach. When theauthor illustrates the use of nursing interventions to offer thepatients comfort, she is simply limiting the implementation processof intervention resulting to enhanced comfort as a core function ofonly the experts who have specialized in nursing. Another limitationof the theory is that the author does not discuss the importance ofoffering comfort to the nurses but only focuses on the patients`welfare (Goodwin, Sener &amp Steiner, 2007,278‐285).

Toensure that the patients are comfortable, it is important that thenurses should be made comfortable first since they are the ones whohave the obligation of ensuring that their clients are comfortable.It is true that when the comfort of the nurses is improved, theybecome more satisfied. When they become satisfied, they become morecommitted to their work and offer to their patients’ better healthcare. Offering a better health care to the patients ensures that thepatients` outcome is improved, and this, therefore, strengthen thenursing institution. Comfort theory follows a logical development asit follows major evolution processes as the events occurred overtime. The logic in the theory implies that all the arguments statedby the author are well supported in the nursing framework (Kolcaba &ampDiMarco, 2004,187-194).

Theconcepts of comfort in the theory are still in the early developmentprocess and this indicates why the preposition and concepts arealready operationalized. Comfort theory can easily be interpreted byboth the patients and the nurses, and it is also represented in thenursing framework all over the world. The earlier focus of the nurseswas to ensure that the patients are comfortable. All the patientsexpect this from the nurses who take care of them, and they willalways give credit to any nurse who delivers comfort to them. Thecomfort theory offers direction to all people who have an interest inthe nursing as a field. It, therefore, literary explicates how andwhy to do a certain thing. Therefore, it can be suggested thatcomfort theory can be directed to the patients of all cultures, ages,communities, state, regions and backgrounds. Comfort theoryillustrates nursing as a practice that is humanistic and holistic.Comfort theory, therefore, differentiates nursing from other healthdisciplines (Kolcaba, 2003).

Antecedentsand Consequences

Inorder for the concept of comfort to arise, there are several factorsthat have to be in place to act as trigger agents. Kolcaba (2003)opines that the most fundamental counter-agent of comfort isdiscomfort or feeling of uneasiness or pain. Therefore, one may arguethat in order for a patient to need comfort, they must have beensubjected to a feeling of deprivation of a particular need or unmetdesires for their well-being and peace of mind. Therefore, he opinesthat it is when a patient is in a state of discomfort that the needto alleviate him/her to comfort arises. Once a patient’s need forcomfort has been met, this result into a state that referred to asthe consequence. This may encompass on a patient feeling at ease,relief, free from the prior pain and feeling loved among others.


Accordingto Goodwin,&nbspSener&nbsp&amp&nbspSteiner&nbsp(2007,278‐285),empiricalreferents can simply be discussed as the various states or conditionsthat signify the prevalence of comfort. In order to demonstrate theprevalence of comfort, there is a dire need for comfort measures tobe in place. These are basically the various necessary conditionsthat will facilitate the provision of comfort to patients by therespective nurses taking care of them. Various aspects of comforthave been incorporated into the various electronic databases in orderto promote it. They encompass on the carious outcomes,administrations processes and interventional measures necessary forthe concept of comfort. They can be easily located under the NationalOutcomes Classification and National Intervention Classificationamong others (Goodwin,&nbspSener&nbsp&amp&nbspSteiner,&nbsp2007,278‐285).


Thecomfort theory applies to all fields of health care. Despite thetheory being patient and family centered, there are hopes to expandthe scope of the concepts in the theory. This implies that thepossibility of expanding is endless. Therefore, restructuring ahealthcare system that incorporates the concepts of comfort theorywill be important as it facilitates the improvement of societalappreciation and acceptance as well increases the satisfaction of thepatients.


Goodwin,&nbspM.,&nbspSener,&nbspI.,&nbsp&amp&nbspSteiner,&nbspS.&nbspH.&nbsp(2007).&nbspA&nbspnovel&nbsptheory&nbspfor&nbspnursing&nbspeducation:&nbspHolistic Comfort.Journal&nbspof&nbspHolistic&nbspNursing,&nbsp25(4),&nbsp278‐285.

Kolcaba,K., &amp DiMarco, M. A. (2004). Comfort Theory and its applicationto pediatric nursing.&nbspPediatricnursing,&nbsp31(3),187-194.

Kolcaba,K. (2003).&nbspComforttheory and practice: A vision for holistic health care and research.Springer Publishing Company.