The first theory focuses on the self-care needs of an individual. Orem’s self-care deficit theory defines self-care as actions intentionally performed by individuals to maintain their own life, health, and well-being (Hartweg & Metcalfe, 2022). According to Hartweg & Metcalfe’s (2022) interpretation, self-care aims to satisfy an individual’s corresponding needs. The self-care deficit essentially identifies one’s requirement to maintain health – when self-care is not upheld (deficit), an illness may commence (Hartweg & Metcalfe, 2022). Consequently, Orem’s model emphasizes these self-care needs as something a nurse can fulfill to promote health and well-being (Hartweg & Metcalfe, 2022). Overall, the underlying message of Orem’s theory is that a person can take responsibility for their health and the health of others.
In contrast, the second model emphasizes a more flexible mode of existence. In Roy’s adaptation model, humans are viewed as complete adaptive systems coping with environmental changes to maintain and facilitate individual and environmental adaptation (Jennings, 2017). Throughout their lifetime, individuals constantly interact with stimuli from both internal and external environments that either enhance or diminish their ability to cope (Jennings, 2017). Hence, they develop coping mechanisms for external or internal environmental changes (Jennings, 2017). Adaptation is supposed to lead people to the best possible health, well-being, and quality of life in this framework. Overall, Roy’s model focuses on improving the basic life processes of individuals and groups.
In conclusion, the two models approach the self-standing and independence of a patient’s contribution to their well-being, even though both promote better patient care. Roy’s theory focuses on a person’s involuntary adaptation, which occurs when they respond positively to changes in the environment. In contrast, Orem’s framework focuses on viewing a person’s intentional self-care abilities to maintain life, wellness, and illness. Overall, while Roy’s theory focuses on a person’s adaptation, Orem’s theory emphasizes self-care.
Hartweg, D. L., & Metcalfe, S. A. (2022). Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory: Relevance and need for refinement. Nursing Science Quarterly, 35(1), 70–76.
Jennings, K. M. (2017). The Roy adaptation model: A theoretical framework for nurses providing care to individuals with anorexia nervosa. ANS. Advances in Nursing Science, 40(4), 370–383.