Comfort Interventions and Care Plans
In this section, I have included many of my favorite types of comfort interventions. There is a PowerPoint presentation for Kaiser Permanente (San Francisco). The DON there wanted to create a "comfort place" at her hospital. Included in her presentation are early diagrams of my practice on an Alzheimer’s unit. From this initial diagram of my practice, an assignment in graduate school, came my exploration of comfort.
As stated on my home page, I am a volunteer at a homeless shelter two mornings a week where my comfort interventions include a warm smile, a big comfy chair, a handshake (culturally dependent on preference), some free hygiene products, underwear and socks. In this setting, there are many instances of mental illness and related substance abuse. For these folks, the goal is to help them find healthy self-comforting measures that can eventually replace their unhealthy habits. (See picture below.) It would be easy to create a comfort care plan for this population, much like the community or parish nursing care plans included in this section. When care plans are implemented, they are holistic comfort interventions. They are also great teaching tools. (Also see section on education.)
Comfort of staff nurses is also included below. The Nurse Comfort Questionnaire can be found in the section on measuring comfort. My interest in nurse comfort is mentioned in my book, but that work became more detailed with my consulting in hospital systems that were applying for Magnet Status. At that time, Magnet Status was awarded to institutions which provided a positive and comfortable environment for nurses to work in. (See: Kolcaba and Drouin article for how that visit was structured.)
Nurse Comfort Definitions
Definition of Nurses’ Comfort: Totality of embeddedness in an organization based on physical, psychospiritual, socio-cultural-political and environmental attributes of an institution or agency,
Type of comfort:
Relief – the state of having a specific comfort need met.
Ease – the state of calm or contentment.
Transcendence – the state in which one can rise above problems or challenges.
Context in which comfort occurs:
Physical – pertaining to policies and facilities which promote good health habits & quality of life, periods of rest, fair & flexible scheduling, control over resources and patient care decisions, good ergonomics and spatial arrangements, generous benefits & pension plan.
Psychospiritual – pertaining to internal awareness of self, including esteem, concept, values, meaning in one’s work, positive reinforcement, trust, empowerment, creativity, role clarity, support for learning & advancement.
Environmental (Organizational) – pleasing work temperature, light, sound, odor, color, furniture, landscape, etc., distinct & strong nursing dept., flat organizational structure, decrease in non-nursing work, extent of team work and mutual understanding.
Socio-cultural-political – pertaining to ease of relationships with peers, managers, administrators, and other members of the health system, openness with which new ideas are heard and advanced, good fit with organization, inter-departmental cooperation, work load adjusted for precepting new nurses & students.