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Dorothea Orem's Self-Care Theory

Dorothea Orem (1914-2007)


• Successfully meeting universal and development self-care requisites is an

important component of primary care prevention and ill health
• A person’s knowledge of potential health problems is necessary for promoting
self-care behaviors


Nursing – is art, a helping service, and a technology

• Actions deliberately selected and performed by nurses to help individuals or

groups under their care to maintain or change conditions in themselves or their
• To regain normal or near normal state of health in the event of disease or injury
• To stabilize ,control ,or minimize the effects of chronic poor health or disability

Nursing client

• A human being who has "health related /health derived limitations that render him
incapable of continuous self care or dependent care or limitations that result in
ineffective / incomplete care.


Orem’s general theory of nursing in three related parts:-

• Theory of self care

• Theory of self care deficit
• Theory of nursing system

Theory of Self Care

This theory Includes:

• Self care – practice of activities that individual initiates and perform on their own
behalf in maintaining life ,health and well being
• Self care agency – is a human ability which is "the ability for engaging in self
care" -conditioned by age developmental state, life experience sociocultural
orientation health and available resources
• Therapeutic self care demand – "totality of self care actions to be performed for
some duration in order to meet self care requisites by using valid methods and
related sets of operations and actions"
• Self care requisites-action directed towards provision of self care. 3 categories of
self care requisites are-

1. Universal

• Developmental
• Health deviation

2. Universal self care requisites

• Associated with life processes and the maintenance of the integrity of human
structure and functioning
• Common to all , ADL
• Identifies these requisites as:
• Maintenance of sufficient intake of air ,water, food
• Provision of care assoc with elimination process
• Balance between activity and rest, between solitude and social interaction
• Prevention of hazards to human life well being and
• Promotion of human functioning

3. Developmental self care requisites

• Associated with developmental processes/ derived from a condition…. Or

associated with an event
o E.g. adjusting to a new job
o adjusting to body changes
• Health deviation self care
o Required in conditions of illness, injury, or disease .these include:--
o Seeking and securing appropriate medical assistance
o Being aware of and attending to the effects and results of pathologic
o Effectively carrying out medically prescribed measures
o Modifying self concepts in accepting oneself as being in a particular state
of health and in specific forms of health care
o Learning to live with effects of pathologic conditions