Orem self care theory detailed analysis

All persons have a desire to be independent in care of their own health and that of the other people around them. According to Orem’s theory of self-care, the patients can recover fast and holistically if they are given chance to perform self-care tasks on their own to the best of their ability (Masters, K., 2011).Health as a major concept in Orem’s theory is the current situation of a person who has features of completeness and soundness of developed human structure .In addition the individual has excellence body and mental functioning (Masters, K., 2011). It also includes the potential to survive in the interaction with the social, physical and biological environment. This concept analysis aims at clarifying the interaction between various concepts around a person to have self care irrespective of the underlying limitation factor. Walker and Avant (2005) methodology will be used for this analysis. For this concept to apply, the antecedent is that a person (client) who is unable to achieve self care due to various limitations must exist.

A person owns the developmental, universal and health-related needs to achieve completeness in health. Environmental components affect the health of the patient because it provides the context within which the patient exists. The nurses are available to assist the person to achieve therapeutic care, develop independent and responsible care. Furthermore, the nurse remains available for consultation, guidance and provision of necessities required for quick recovery and achievement of self-care needs of the person (patient) (Sitzman, K., 2011). The nursing fraternity will be focused on identifying a nursing client who has self-care deficit and the limitation that inhibits him from achieving self-care. The nursing problem that causes limitations may have universal or developmental dimension. A proper nursing process is used to determine the reason for care, plan and implement the care process by performing systemic and purposeful actions (Sitzman, K., 2011). The popular headlines (defining attributes) in Orem’s theory are self-care, self-care deficit and the nursing actions that are applied to make patients independent. The focus is not on an individual, but to the person in relation to the relatives and the needs required from the nursing fraternity to enable the “person” have self-care.

Every person has the ability to care for themselves, take care of their health and that of their related ones thereby maintaining life and wellbeing. When an injury or a disease occurs, the aim of nursing fraternity is to offer assistance to the person to enable him to achieve a state of independence as soon as possible. It involves actions that enable the patient to overcome the limitations of self-care. Self-care deficit only exist when the person or/and his family members are not able to offer self-care demands that can only be achieved by a nurse (Orem, 1959). However, the degree of nursing assistance depends on the extent to which the patient is able to achieve self-care requirements. The nurse assists the client only when it is necessary (Sitzman, K., 2011).

Nurses apply Orem’s theory to achieve self-care of a healthy person during the nursing care process. It starts by determining the requisites of a person, finding out the adequacy of self activities and coming up with appropriate nursing diagnosis. The correct method of helping achieve self-care for good health is then applied (Taylor, 2006).


Model case

Mr Ben is 78 years man who lives alone and is restricted to bed due to osteoarthritis. During a conversation, the nurse realized that he feels sad and inadequate due to his disability. Using Orem’s theory, the nurse had to perform assessment and interventions. Activity and exercise are not met due to immobility and the client is elderly. Physiotherapy and assistance walking will help the patient become active. The client is unable to make balanced food thus he eats unbalance diet. Giving the correct food combination will enable him to have balanced diet. The patient is unable to sleep and rest due to pain. Proper pain management plan including analgesics will reduce the pain.

The nurse give the self care assistance such as; Promotes patients self care activities monitors the extent of patient’s independent activities, provide assistance until he can fully perform duties alone. The nurse also determines the requirements for home use to patients with disabilities. In addition, he explores with the patient the factors that worsen or reduce pain. He also teaches on non pharmacological treatment of pain and encourage patient to monitor own pain. The patients and the family can therefore seek for support when the pain worsens.

On evaluation, the patient can recognize the onset, location and describe causative factor of pain. He can apply the non medical measure to reduce pain, but reports excess pain to health professional. The patient also identifies symptoms associated with the pain and reports relief after intervention.

Consequently, the patient becomes independent of health and life .He can walk around, self toileting, self feeding, self bathing and self dressing and little or no nursing intervention will be needed.

In conclusion, Orem three part theory focuses on a person in relation nut not as an individual. The person interacts with the others and also with the nursing care fraternity. The interaction is aimed at restoring his independence and responsibility of his own health. For the person to care for himself, he/she will meet the universal requisites, developmental requisites and health care deviation requisites.







Masters, K., 2011. Nursing theories, framework for general practice. Sudbury, MA. Jones.

Orem, D., 2011. Nursing theories; self care theories. Retrieved from: www.currentnursing .com

Sitzman, K., 2011. Understanding works of nurse theorist, a creative beginning.Sundbury, MA: Jones

Taylor, S., 2006. Dorothea Orem: self care deficit theory of nursing. St.Luise; Missouri.

Walker, L., and Avant, K., 2005. Strategies of theory construction in Nursing. Upper saddle River, NJ: Prentice hall.




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