NEW YORK CITY In September, staff at Mount Sinai Medical Center were treated to a visit with Kathy Kolcaba, RN, PhD. Kolcaba, an associate professor emeritus at the University of Akron (Ohio), developed the comfort theory, the idea that patient comfort goes beyond physical comfort. The two-day event, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Patient Comfort: Strategies for Improving Patient Satisfaction, included Grand Rounds and a presentation for staff.
Before the presentation, Kolcaba asked staff in different departments what they do to make their patients more comfortable. Not surprisingly, the answers differed by department.Kathy Kolcaba, RN
For example, medicines answer was to work collaboratively, while nursing said it meant providing a therapeutic environment. Kolcaba asserts that physical and environmental factors define the traditional meaning of comfort and are just two of the four types of comfort needs. Those two, together with psychospiritual and sociocultural needs, form a pattern for assessment, treatment, and evaluation of patients and families comfort level at any given time, she says.
This was Kolcabas third visit to Mount Sinai. Shes a teacher and a mentor who is passionate about her work, says Carol Porter, RN, DNP, chief nursing officer and senior vice president, who introduced Kolcaba. She will definitely get you out of your comfort zone.
Kolcaba has published on her theory since 1992. For more information, visit www.TheComfortLine.com.