Comfort among Psychiatric Inpatients

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 1:45 PM

Joao Luis Alves Apóstolo, RN, MS, PhD
Maria Teresa Antunes, PhD
Aida Cruz Mendes, PhD, RN
Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing Domain, Coimbra Nursing School, Coimbra, Portugal

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the concept of comfort among psychiatric inpatients.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify the characteristics of comfort among psychiatric inpatients.

Purpose: Psychiatric inpatients experience discomfort related to symptoms resulting from the illness and the hospitalization process. According to Kolcaba (1991; 2003), discomfort is a state in which basic human needs are addressed in terms of relief, ease and transcendence in the four contexts of experience: physical, psychospiritual, sociocultural, and environmental. The purpose is: To describe the characteristics of comfort/discomfort among psychiatric inpatients
Methods: A descriptive study using the Psychiatric Inpatients Comfort Scale (PICS), a five-point Likert-like scale, based on the conceptual structure of Kolcaba (2003). Sample: 393 patients, 215 women and 178 men with a mean age of 41.26; SD 13.36 years. Previous studies have demonstrated the psychometric qualities of the PICS (Apóstolo et al. 2007). Cronbach’s alpha for the total scale in this study is 0.91.
Results: 27.48 % of the patients experienced moderate or high discomfort levels. Patients experienced higher levels of discomfort in the dimensions transcendence and psychospiritual (46.06% and 41.48%, respectively).
Conclusion: Patients experienced higher levels of discomfort regarding self-awareness, the meaning of life, self-esteem and self-concept, as well as the capacity to plan, have control over their destiny and solve their problems. Previous results resorting to qualitative methodology support this finding (Apóstolo, 2007) and demonstrate that these patients feel imprisoned by the illness and unable to develop their life projects. Therefore, the intervention should be essentially oriented towards these aspects.