Application of Theoretical Concepts to Research Essay

Application of Theoretical Concepts to Research Essay


Kolcaba’s theory of comfort explains comfort as a critical need for all people for ease, relief, and transcendence arising from stressful healthcare situations (Lafond et al., 2019). Comfort can help improve the health-seeking behaviors of nurses, patients, and family members. This paper analyzes the impact of the theory on care delivery and looks at how it has been used in various studies.


Theorist’s Background

            Kolcaba’s nursing background included work in the operating room, home health, medical nursing, and long-term care. She was interested in how comfort impacted the patient’s health care and created the unit of dementia patients (Lafond et al., 2019). While the concept of comfort predates the nursing profession, Kolcaba’s thesis transformed it into a quantifiable entity with well-defined supporting elements. The Concepts of Relief, Ease, and Transcendence in the Theory of Comfort are examined in four dimensions: physical, psychospiritual, social, and environmental. The “Taxonomic Structure of Comfort” juxtaposes the three comfort levels and four contexts of comfort. Researchers can readily apply the theory in their field to execute the concept of comfort by using the taxonomic framework as a tool (Yazdi, 2021). Kolcaba observed how to keep the patients calm to ensure that they accept the treatment. It makes it easier for healthcare professionals to provide care for anxious patients about their care.

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Phenomenon of Concern

The idea of concern was to make the patients experience comfort in the sense of relief. Kolcaba described comfort in three forms: ease, relief, and transcendence (Lafond et al., 2019). Conform is explained in terms of the fundamental need for all people to get relief from the treatment they receive, the ease of care provided to the patients, and transcendence arising from stressful health care situations. Comfort can enhance patients, nurses, and family members (Yazdi, 2021). Comfort theory focuses more on a patient’s or family’s particular requirements, which leads to increased comfort, which leads to health-seeking behaviors among patients, families, and even nurses. It gives nursing practice and research results a sense of order.

Theory Description

The comfort theory is a middle-range predictive theory due to the limited number of concepts and the lower degree of abstraction than the conceptual models and grand theories. Nurses are required to identify the needs of patients and their families which have not been met (Lafond et al., 2019). These needs are modified by intervening variables that are the factors that the nurses cannot change, such as poverty and the patient’s diagnosis. With these concepts, the nurses have to create a comfort care plan to enhance the patient’s comfort over the measurement of the baseline comfort. When the comfort of patients and families is enhanced, they can engage more fully, both consciously and subconsciously, in health-seeking behaviors (Yazdi, 2021). The health-seeking behaviors are mutually agreed upon goals and can be internal or external. Ensuring the patient’s comfort increases patient satisfaction and improved institutional ratings.


            This theory has six fundamental concepts: nursing interventions, healthcare needs, intervening variables, health-seeking behaviors, patient comfort, and institutional integrity (Yazdi, 2021). Healthcare needs are the comfort needs that patients have from stressful healthcare situations. The healthcare needs can come from psychospiritual, physical, environmental, and social, which can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of care (Lafond et al., 2019). Nursing interventions are the commitment of the nurses and healthcare institutions to promote comfort care and meet the needs of the patients. The intervening variables are anything that impact the outcome of the health care. These variables include experience, age, attitude, support system, emotional state, and finances.


            Cut and paste an image or diagram of the theory showing the concepts. Make sure that you cite your source for the image.


The relationship between the concepts in this theory is clear. The nurses identify the patients’ comfort needs, and other support systems have not been identified. The nurses are responsible for designing interventions to address the unmet needs of the patients (Lafond et al., 2019). The nurses consider the variables that can impact the proposed intervention to assist the patients. Once comfort is achieved, the patients are encouraged to engage in health-seeking behaviors. Finally, the patient is strengthened and participates in health-seeking behaviors. They are more satisfied with their health care (Yazdi, 2021). Once the patient is satisfied with the care, the institutions maintain their integrity.



            As a result, one of the fundamental flaws of the Comfort theory is that the conceptual framework is not completely intact. Essentially, the concepts and definitions are not quite in sync (Yazdi, 2021). For example, the author’s notion of health conflicts with other aspects of the theory. Additionally, the concepts of functioning are nowhere to be seen in Kolcaba’s reasoning. Another point of Cerner is the relationship between addressing the patient’s comfort needs and promoting health-seeking at the institutional level. However, the theory does not account for promoting health-seeking behaviors on insurance, the workplace, and other levels.


            The theory adequately addresses all the meta paradigms of nursing. The recipient of nursing care includes families, individuals, or communities in need of healthcare. In the nursing metaparadigm, the design of comfort measures addresses those needs and assesses the level of comfort compared to the baseline after implementation (Yazdi, 2021). Health is considered optimal functioning as defined by the group, patient, community, and family through enhanced comfort. The external environment can be manipulated to enhance comfort.


Studies That Used the Theory

Boudiab & Kolcaba (2015) use the comfort theory to develop a holistic and straightforward pattern for identifying needs, developing suitable interventions to meet the needs, and evaluating the effects of the interventions for veterans. They show the impact of comfort theory applied throughout the veteran administration system to provide quality veteran-centered care. Ng (2017) demonstrates that comfort theory can be used to manage patients with end-of-life issues. The theory is used to ensure that the care environment can be adjusted to suit the needs of the patients with Hepatocellular carcinoma.

Area of Practice

I would use this theory in the care of pediatrics with lung cancer. Palliative care for pediatrics can be difficult because of the demands of the families who consent to the care of the children. I would operationalize concepts by assessing the impact of the theory on improved patient satisfaction.


While the theory of care has its weaknesses, it provides critical information on caring for patients with critical diseases. The theory aims at improving patient comfort by providing patient-centered care in an optimal environment. The theory is useful for patients with chronic illnesses.



Boudiab, L. D., & Kolcaba, K. (2015). Comfort Theory. Advances in Nursing Science38(4), 270-278. doi:10.1097/ans.0000000000000089

Lafond, D. A., Bowling, S., Fortkiewicz, J. M., Reggio, C., & Hinds, P. S. (2019). Integrating the Comfort Theory™ into pediatric primary palliative care to improve access to care. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing21(5), 382-389. doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000538

NG, S. H. (2017). Application of Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory to the Management of a Patient with Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Singapore Nursing Journal44(1).

Yazdi, K. (2021). A Review of kolcaba Comfort Theory of Nursing. Yafteh23(1), 0-0.

Background: contains two subsections, which includes a brief description of the theorist and the phenomenon of concern in the theory.
Theory Description: a description of each of the concepts in the theory, a diagram of the theory, and a description of how the concepts are related.
An Evaluation of the Theory: a description of the theory’s weaknesses and how the metaparadigms are described in the theory.
Application of the Theory:
Describe two studies that used the theory as a framework for their study, including a description of how they operationalized the concepts.
How could you use the theory to research a phenomenon in your area of clinical practice? How would you operationalize the concepts?

Use these 2 articles:


Boudiab, Lina, Daou MSN, RN, Kolcaba, Katharine & PhD, RN. (2015). Comfort Theory:
Unraveling the Complexities of Veterans\’ Health Care Needs. Advances in Nursing Science, 38, 270-278.

Shu Hua NG. (2017). Application of Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory to the Management of a Patient
with Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Singapore Nursing Journal, 44(1), 16–23.

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