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Self-care Deficit Nursing Theory

The self-care deficit nursing theory is a middle range nursing theory that was developed between 1959 and 2001 by Dorothea Orem. It is also known as the Orem model of nursing. It is particularly used in rehabilitation and primary care settings where the patient is encouraged to be as independent as possible.

Central philosophy

The nursing theory is based upon the philosophy that all "patients wish to care for themselves". They can recover more quickly and holistically if they are allowed to perform their own self-cares to the best of their ability.

Self-care requisites

Self-care requisites are groups of needs or requirements that Orem identified. They are classified as either:
  • Universal self-care requisites - those needs that all people have
  • Developmental self-care requisites - 1. maturational: progress toward higher level of maturation. 2. situational: prevention of deleterious effects related to development.
  • Health deviation requisites - those needs that arise as a result of a patient's condition

Self-care deficits

When an individual is very unable to meet their own self-care requisites, a "self-care deficit" occurs. It is the job of the Registered Nurse to determine these deficits, and define a support modality.

Support modalities

Nurses are encouraged to rate their patient's dependencies or each of the self-care deficits on the following scale:
  • Total Compensation
  • Partial Compensation
  • Educative/Supportive

Universal Self-Care Requisites (SCRs)

The Universal self-care requisites that all or health are:
  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Elimination
  • Activity and Rest
  • Solitude and Social Interaction
  • Hazard Prevention
  • Promotion of Normality
The nurse is encouraged to assign a support modality to each of the self-care requisites.

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