A Concept Paper on Comfort
Deric Franco A. Sunico
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila
During my nursing student stint as we were exposed to different hospitals, I have always encountered on chartings the phrase “kept safe and comfortable”. As I practice my profession, questions arises what comfort really means and its diverse perspectives. Being a ward nurse, aside from moving my patients towards health; providing holistic nursing care and client satisfaction is my utmost concern. Leininger (1991) believed comfort to be a function of nursing while Gropper (1992) embraced yet another approach to the delineation of comfort and proposed that comfort is a basic human need pursued by all human beings. Enhancing comfort to my holistic nursing care will help me attain patient satisfaction thus engaging my patient and family to health seeking behaviors.
Review of Literature
From the time of our birth, we, human beings long for comfort. An infant calms down when cradled and rocked, a child stops crying when his hurting knee is kissed, and a sick elderly man seems at peace when his hand is caressed and soft spoken words are whispered to him. Comfort remains a substantive need throughout life and, as such, should be considered an indispensable constituent of holistic nursing care. Kolcaba and Kolcaba (1991), echoed what Gropper said about comfort as a basic human need, which denoted the existence of four comfort needs, which are associated with three comfort states. The development of nursing knowledge and interventions involve understanding human responses and needs. The purpose of this paper is to study definitions and contextual usage of the word “comfort” from literatures, different professional areas and nursing focusing on how different disciplines exploit the word and answer the conceptual question, “what is comfort”. Literatures from theology, business, engineering, sociology, and nursing were reviewed for contextual usage of the word “comfort”. To understand better this concept, Kolcaba’s theory on comfort was also examined. In addition, antecedents, criteria and consequences of comfort were identified from the literature that contributed to a clearer understanding of the concept. Current definitions of Comfort
Webster’s New College Dictionary (2009) defined that comfort comes from the Latin root word com- meaning ‘intens’ and +fortis meaning ‘strong’, and has been used both as noun and transitive verb. When used as a noun, ‘comfort’ has been defined as (a) aid; encouragement: now only in aid and comfort, (b) relief from distress, grief, etc.; consolation, (c) a person or thing that comforts, (d) a state of ease and quiet enjoyment, free from worry, pain, or trouble, (e) anything that makes life easy or comfortable. When used as transitive verb, the word ‘comfort’ is defined as (a) to soothe in distress or sorrow; ease the misery or grief of; bring consolation or hope to, (b) to give a sense of ease to. Webster’s New College Dictionary (2009) defined that discomfort comes from the Old French word desconforter meaning ‘to discourage’ and has been used as both noun and transitive verb. When used as noun, ‘discomfort’ has been defined as (a) lack of comfort; uneasiness; inconvenience (b) anything causing this. When used as a transitive verb, ‘discomfort’ has been defined as to cause discomfort to; distress. A study was made to explore the concept of discomfort and clearly identify this phenomenon; to compare and contrast this concept with the accepted concepts of acute pain and chronic pain; and to develop a diagnostically useful definition, including defining characteristics and related factors. The study of Lamont (2003) resulted that clinicians expressed support for the concept of discomfort as a diagnostic concept separate from pain, and provided insight into the complex interrelation of pain/discomfort in the physical sense, and emotional discomforts such as fear....