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Dr. Katharine Kolcaba. The Comfort Theory 1. Comfort Theory. Dr. Kolcaba’s theory was deliberated in women with third stage breast cancer undergoing radiation and chemotherapies 1 . Kolcaba’s target audiences for her theory were 1 : Gerontological Nursing 1 HIV/AIDS 1

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Dr. Katharine Kolcaba

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Dr. Katharine Kolcaba

The Comfort Theory1

Comfort Theory

  • Dr. Kolcaba’s theory was deliberated in women with third stage breast cancer undergoing radiation and chemotherapies1.

  • Kolcaba’s target audiences for her theory were1:

    • Gerontological Nursing1

    • HIV/AIDS1

    • Holistic Nursing1

    • Mental Health Nursing1

    • Nursing Research and Theory1

    • Oncology1

    • Palliative and Hospice Nursing1

    • Long Term Care Facilities1

    • Spiritual Care1

Theory Development

  • Conducted a concept analysis of comfort3.

  • The three types of comfort (relief, ease, transcendence) and four contexts of holistic human experience3.

  • Taxonomic structure to guide for assessment3.

  • Comfort as a product of holistic nursing3.

  • A broader theory for comfort was introduced3.

Kolcaba’sTheory Description

  • Nursing is described as the process of assessing the patient’s comfort needs, developing and implementing appropriate nursing interventions, and evaluating patient comfort following nursing interventions3,4.

  • Health is considered to be optimal functioning3,4.

  • Person/Patient can be considered as individuals, families, institutions, or communities in need of health care3,4.

  • Environment is anything that can be manipulated by a nurse, or loved one to enhance comfort3,4.

What does comfort mean by Webster definition?

-a state of being relaxed and feeling no pain2

-a feeling of freedom from worry or disappointment2

-the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction2

-give moral or emotional strength to2

-lessen pain or discomfort; alleviate2

Comfort as a Whole

Relief, Ease, Transcendence

Comfort Types

Relief- the state of having a specific comfort need met4,5.

Ease- the state of calm or contentment4,5.

Transcendence- the state in which one can rise above problems or pain4,5.

Contexts of Comfort





Conceptual Framework for Comfort Theory

Comfort Theory in Relation to my Profession

  • I chose the comfort theory because comfort of the patient or client promotes well being and a quicker recovery.

  • In my current career, we have tried white boards to evaluate a patients’ comfort/pain status.

  • I’ve thought as well about a career change into hospice and thought that educating myself more on the comfort theory my help me in this new career change.


1. http://libguides.twu.edu/content.php:pid=387632

2. Merriam-Webster. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comfort

3. Kolcaba, K. (2011). Comfort Theory. Retrieved from


4. Kolcaba, K., Tilton, C., & Drouin, C. (2006). Comfort theory: A unifying framework

to enhance the practice environment. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 36(11), 538-544.

Retrieved from http://www.thecomfortline.com/files/pdfs/2006%20-%20Comfort%20Theory%20A%20unifying%20framework%20to%20enhance%20the%20practice%20environment.pdf

5. March, A. & McCormack, D. (2009). Nursing theory-directed healthcare, modifying kolcaba’s comfort theory

as an institution-wide approach. Wolters Kluwer Health. Doi: 10.1097/HNP.OBO13e3281a1105b

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