The Self-Care Deficit Theory: Psychiatric Patient

Topic: Nursing
Words: 284 Pages: 1

Dorothea E. Orem developed the Self-Care Deficit Theory in an attempt to improve the overall quality of nursing. Her model delivers a novel approach to nursing and associated activities. Using the theory, nurses can now identify the most important aspects of care they should prioritize at any particular time while patients can learn the importance of autonomy in the care environment during the recovery period. Therefore, this theory shows nurses how they can help patients maintain autonomy and defines nursing as the act of facilitating self-care with the aim of improving health outcomes (Ali, 2018). The theory is also founded on the principle that an adult only requires nursing from a professional if he is unable to provide the quality of care that would otherwise be provided on a consistent basis over their recovery period. For children, it has to be that the parent or guardian is unable to do the same.

The Self-Care Deficit Theory is based on several important assumptions:

  1. Survival and functionality are dependent on constant connection and communication between human beings and their environment
  2. Interventions are based on deliberate action
  3. Sometimes mature human beings lack the ability to take the necessary action to sustain life and regulate normal functioning (Ali, 2018).

I find the best practical application of this theory to be in designing a nursing care plan. Using insights from this theory, I would first identify the activities of daily living that constitute self-care and determine the ones my patient has difficulty with and the degree of their inability. I would then consult with other professionals handling the patient like nursing assistants and only then design a care plan that maximizes their independence and ensures an optimal recovery environment.


Ali, B. H. I. (2018). Application of Orem self care deficit theory on psychiatric patient. Annals of Nursing and Practice, 5(1), 1-3. Web.

Creation of Virginia Henderson’s Nursing Theory
Advanced Practice Nurse: Educational Requirements