An exploration of the concept of comfort.
Tutton E., Seers K.
This paper explores the concept of comfort within conceptual frameworks that identify comfort as a key component. The paper focuses on two main issues: firstly, descriptions of comfort and how comfort is defined; secondly, the relationship between comfort and other core concepts and how it is similar to, or differs from these concepts. The descriptions of comfort identify the difficulty of defining comfort and note that historical interpretations of comfort have changed over time. Key authors provide different perspectives of comfort and hence a uniform definition is not evident. The degree to which patients' perspectives are represented varies within the frameworks which suggests that further clarity is needed in this area. The relationship between comfort and other concepts considers the boundaries between comfort and two concepts: nursing as therapy and caring. Comfort tends to be seen as a minor aspect of these concepts focusing on relief of discomfort or actions that demonstrate caring. The paper concludes that there is a lack of clarity around the use of the term comfort which fits with a view of comfort as an emerging concept. Descriptions of comfort are clearly evident in the literature but differ in relation to the authors' views of nursing. The relationship between comfort and nursing as therapy and caring is also complex and highlights the debate in relation to comfort as a part of caring or as the overall focus of care.