Dorothea Orem's Theory

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“Theory helps provide knowledge to improve practice by describing, explaining, predicting, and controlling phenomena” (Blais and Hayes, 2011) Theory is part of what drives us as nurses. Providing medication is one aspect of a nurse’s job, however, making sure that a patient receives the best care possible and knowing what the rationale behind this care is, is a significant part of what makes us nurses. One of the most popular nursing theorists of our time is Dorothea Orem. "In the inability of the client to do the universal, developmental or health deviation self-care requisites, the nurse provides wholly or partially compensatory or supportive-educative assistance." Dorothea Orem's theory of Self-Care Deficit is a patient centered model, as the patient is the main focus of care, due to their inability and incapacity to perform self care due to health problems and limitations. “Normally, adults voluntarily care for themselves. Infants, children, the aged, the ill, and the disabled require complete care or assistance with self-care activities.” (Orem, 1991) When a patient is unable to care for themselves, a self care deficit is said to happen. As Registered Nurses, we must identify these deficits and determine how we can be of assistance to these patients, and if possible, return them to a self sufficient state. Orem describes three states of dependency; wholly compensatory, partly compensatory, and supportive-educative. Wholly compensatory and partly compensatory dependencies are both very important theories in patient care. When a patient is dependent for their everyday needs and can no longer take care of themselves there are both emotional and physical tolls that are taken. A nurse must be cognizant of their

patient’s inability to move around and adjust their body weight or risk pressure ulcers or DTIs. These are special types of injury because they are
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