Postsurgical Comfort Care

Evidence suggests that patients do better when their expectations about specific benefits of nursing care are discussed and met.  Design a “comfort contract” whereby patients or their surrogates designate an expected level of postsurgical overall comfort, and also where they can specify chronic discomforts and interventions that they use at home for relief.



Designing a “Comfort Contract” for patients or their surrogates to designate expected levels of postsurgical overall comfort and specify chronic discomforts and interventions for relief is an excellent idea to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. Here’s a framework for creating such a contract:

  1. Contract Introduction:
    • Clearly explain the purpose of the Comfort Contract, emphasizing that its purpose is to align nursing care with patient expectations for better outcomes and comfort during the postsurgical period.
    • Mention that the contract will also address chronic discomforts and home interventions to ensure continuity of care.
  2. Personal Information:
    • Include sections for patient information, such as name, age, medical record number, and contact information.
    • If applicable, include space for surrogate details and their relationship to the patient.
  3. Expected Level of Postsurgical Overall Comfort:
    • Provide a scale (e.g., 1 to 10) or descriptive categories to help patients or their surrogates designate their expected level of overall comfort during the recovery period.
    • Encourage patients to discuss their expectations openly and honestly to ensure their needs are met.
  4. Chronic Discomforts and Interventions:
    • Provide a section where patients can list any chronic discomforts they experience regularly, even before surgery.
    • Include a space for patients to describe the interventions or remedies they currently use at home for relief.
    • Encourage patients to communicate any alternative or complementary therapies they find helpful.
  5. Specific Expectations for Nursing Care:
    • Offer space for patients to express any specific expectations they have from nursing care to manage postsurgical pain and discomfort effectively.
    • This may include preferences for pain management techniques, positioning, or other comfort measures.
  6. Communication Preferences:
    • Include a section where patients can indicate their preferred method of communication (e.g., in-person, phone call, email) for discussing their comfort needs during their hospital stay.
  7. Consent and Signature:
    • Ensure that the contract includes a consent statement indicating that the patient or their surrogate agrees to share this information with the medical team.
    • Provide a signature area for the patient or surrogate to sign, indicating their understanding and agreement with the Comfort Contract.
  8. Review and Updates:
    • Emphasize that the contract can be reviewed and updated at any time during the patient’s hospital stay, as needs and expectations may change.
    • Mention that regular communication with the medical team will help ensure that the patient’s comfort needs are adequately met.
  9. Contact Information:
    • Provide contact information for the nursing care coordinator or relevant medical personnel who can assist patients in case they need to update their Comfort Contract.

By implementing a Comfort Contract, healthcare providers can better understand their patients’ expectations and tailor their care accordingly, leading to improved patient experiences and outcomes. It is essential to ensure that patients feel empowered to communicate their needs and preferences openly, fostering a more patient-centered approach to healthcare.

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