Self-care is one of the essential terms used for the purposes of defining the quality of nursing. Despite the frequency of its use, this term has not been properly considered. However, the understanding of self-care in nursing practice is essential for the provision of high-quality healthcare services. The review of literature on this concept and identification of limitations on its use allows improving the precision of nursing work by eliminating vagueness of self-care perception by caregivers. For this purpose, conducting a concept analysis is necessary to gain a better understanding of the term and, therefore, systemize its application in hospitals.
The term “self-care” is a complex notion referring to a person’s ability to take care of his or her individual needs on a daily basis. According to the definition, self-care is considered to be “the act of caring for yourself when you are ill or to stop yourself from becoming ill” (Cambridge dictionary). In other words, it is a combination of measures taken by a person in case of necessity to maintain life. Numerous scholars have studied the inability of a person to perform these actions and the impact of the self-care concept on the provision of healthcare services.
The concept of self-care first appeared in the works of Dorothea E. Orem. In her self-care deficit theory of nursing or SCDNT and other research papers, she endeavored to present her views on nursing practice as a whole. The central role of the self-care theory was due to the inability of a patient to perform specific self-care measures because of his or her health conditions (Berbiglia & Banfield, 2017). The concept of self-care in her works is considered through numerous issues, such as the reasons for patients to be unable to take care of themselves, their dependence on people, and many others. Hence, the consideration of a patient’s dependence on the science of self-care was one of the keystones of Orem’s research.
The definition of self-care attributes is essential to further analysis of the concept. For the purposes of this paper, the attributes are specific characteristics of the concept, which contribute to a better understanding of its theoretical basis for the consequent implementation by personnel in hospitals. Three attributes have been considered to provide a detailed description of self-care in the context of medical assistance.
The first attribute of the self-care concept is capacity, which represents a combination of resources required for the proper maintenance of a patient’s health. It refers to the principal abilities of healthy people to take care of themselves and take necessary actions in case of an illness or disease (LeBlanc & Jacelon, 2018). It consists of a wide range of activities, from daily care to dealing with the occurring health issues. In the case of daily care, people are likely to be able to take the required measures to stay healthy, unless there is no impact resulting from the possible conditions in the past. As for the issues, including emergency actions, patients might need some assistance from medical personnel.
The second self-care attribute refers to the intention of a patient to take care of his or her health conditions. In the case of the emergency of some health issues, this attribute complements the first one. The combination of the two attributes, which are the capacity of a person to provide self-care and his desire to do it, results in the success of a patient’s treatment (LeBlanc & Jacelon, 2018). Therefore, capacity and intention work together to achieve a positive outcome and improve the patients’ health conditions.
The third, and final, attribute of the self-care concept, considered in the paper, is action. The combination of the first two attributes will lead to success only in case if a patient starts to act to improve the situation (LeBlanc & Jacelon, 2018). If a patient can perform the required self-care actions, this attribute becomes his sole responsibility (Riegel & Jaarsma, 2019). Otherwise, the provision of nursing services would be necessary for his or her further recovery. The timely support from caregivers leads to a better result, especially if a patient’s condition is long-term and severe.
Antecedent and Consequence
There are several factors, which influence the possible emergence of a severe long-term condition, which might result in the need for constant assistance in self-care. One of the antecedents playing a significant role in a patient’s condition is self-esteem. According to the research, the higher the self-esteem of a person is, the less medical assistance he or she would need in case of severe health conditions (Hasanpour-Dehkordi, 2016). This result is connected to the fact that a person with lower self-esteem is more likely to add such a condition as depression to the one he or she has already acquired. It would have an impact on further treatment and the patient’s chances of full recovery.
One of the principal consequences of self-care is the following improvements in the quality of life of patients. Once they learned how to protect themselves from certain health conditions and illnesses and adjusted their lives to the new circumstances, they tend to take more responsibility for the outcome (Hasanpour-Dehkordi, 2016). With the support of their families and nurses, the patients start to perform the daily tasks successfully and, in case of recovery, make more informed choices on their health.
In order to show the way of implementing the self-care concept by nurses, the following example is provided. An older woman with diabetes is being seen in the hospital. She has been suffering from her condition for over five years and is familiar with the necessary measures that are to be taken on a daily basis. As she does not have any complications from the previous conditions or any other reasons preventing her from maintaining her health, she manages it on her own and with the support of her children who regularly visit her.
A nurse is asking her if she needs any medical assistance, and the woman replies that she successfully performs such actions as checking her glucose without any help and follows the prescribed diet. Therefore, the patient is fully responsible for her condition, able to take care of herself, and follows all the recommendations of physicians. She knows that she would receive medical assistance, if necessary.
There is a wide variety of factors, which have an impact on the decisions made by medical assistants and their patients. They mainly relate to self-care and the identification of possible necessities to provide help to a patient. The role of nurses is critical in the decision-making process. It may result either in complications or full recovery of their patients, especially in the case of long-term diseases. Thus, the principal challenge for the caregivers is to make the right decision on whether to provide assistance to a patient or give the task to the patient and his or her family.
Berbiglia V. A. & Banfield B. (2017). Self-care deficit theory of nursing. In M. R. Alligood (9th ed.), Nursing theorists and their work. (pp. 198-212). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Cambridge dictionary. (n.d.). Self-care. In Cambridge dictionary. Web.
Hasanpour-Dehkordi, A. (2016). Self-care concept analysis in cancer patients: An evolutionary concept analysis. Indian J Palliat Care. 22(4), 388-394. Web.
LeBlanc, R. G., & Jacelon, C. S. (2018). Self‐care among older people living with chronic conditions. International journal of older people nursing, 13(3), 1-9. Web.
Riegel, B., & Jaarsma, T. (2019). Self-care in long term conditions: Old news or new thinking? International Journal of Nursing Studies, 90, A1. Web.