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TYPES OF COMFORT DEVICES (Role of Nurse in Comfort Measures)

Updated 2024

Comfort is concerned with rest, with exercise, with the relation of one part of the body to another, with the bed and the whole environment. Comfort is a phase of every procedure as it is an aspect of the total care of the patient.

Comfort devices are invented articles which would add to comfort of patient when used in appropriate manner.

These devices relieve the discomfort and help in maintaining correct posture. Various comfort devices are used for giving comfort to the patient, such as: pillows, back rest, foot rest, bed block, bed cradles, sand bags, air cushion, rubber and cotton rings, air and water mattresses and knee rest.

Here are some common types of comfort devices:

  1. Heating Pads:
    • These devices generate warmth and are often used to soothe muscle aches, cramps, or provide general comfort during colder weather.
  2. Cooling Fans:
    • Fans help circulate air and can provide relief during hot weather. Some are portable, while others are built into air conditioning units.
  3. Massage Chairs/Devices:
    • Designed to provide relaxation and relieve muscle tension, these devices come in various forms, including massage chairs, handheld massagers, and massage cushions.
  4. Electric Blankets:
    • These blankets have integrated heating elements to provide warmth during colder nights, offering a cozy and comfortable sleep environment.
  5. Orthopedic Pillows and Mattresses:
    • These are designed to support proper body alignment and reduce pressure points, offering comfort and relief for individuals with specific sleep or posture needs.
  6. Humidifiers:
    • Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial in dry environments. They can help relieve respiratory issues, dry skin, and enhance overall comfort.
  7. Aromatherapy Diffusers:
    • These devices disperse essential oils into the air, creating a pleasant and calming atmosphere. Certain scents are believed to have relaxation and stress-relief properties.
  8. Foot Massagers:
    • These devices are designed to provide relief to tired and achy feet, often using massage techniques to improve circulation and reduce tension.
  9. Weighted Blankets:
    • These blankets have added weight, which is believed to provide a calming effect and help alleviate anxiety or stress by providing a sense of security.
  10. Eye Masks:
    • These masks are often used for relaxation or sleep aid, blocking out light and promoting a more restful environment.
  11. Electric Foot Warmers:
    • Devices designed to keep feet warm and cozy, especially in cold weather. They often come in the form of heated slippers or foot warmer pads.
  12. Therapeutic Cushions:
    • Cushions designed for specific purposes, such as lumbar support cushions for chairs or seat cushions with cooling gel for improved comfort.
types of comfort devices - nurseinfo


Pillows are used to give comfortable position to the patient. These are most commonly used to support various body parts.


  • To maintain proper body alignment
  • To support body part in good alignment
  • Help to reduce pressure
  • It can be folded, rolled or tucked firmly against the body to maintain position
  • It is used to support head, neck, arms, legs and part of the back adds to the physical comfort


Back rest is a mechanical device which provides a suitable support and rest for the back of the patient in sitting position


  • To support back
  • To facilitate easy breathing
  • It is given especially for heart patients and asthma patients
  • Used in postoperative period


  • Hand rolls are made of cloth that rolled into a cylinder’ about 4-5 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter and stuffed firmly


These used to keep the fingers from being held in a tight fist leading to flexion contracture in patients who are unable to move hands due to paralysis, injury or disease. Thigh rolls are made by folding a sheet to the desired length of 2-3 feet and then rolled into a tight cylinder.

Thigh rolls are used to support hips and thighs preventing them from outward rotation and keeping the feet in good alignment in case of paralysis, fracture of femur of hip surgery.


Foot rests are the mechanical device used to give rest to feet. Sands bags or foot board may be substituted.


  • It helps to maintain the normal position of feet
  • It is used for the comfort
  • To prevent foot drop


Sand bags are canvas, rubber or plastic bags filled with sand and are 1, 5 and 10 lbs in weight. Sand bags are used to immobilize a part.


  • To relieve discomfort
  • Used to support the body part
  • Used to immobilize the body part
  • Used to support as in fractures bones
  • To prevent foot drop or wrist drop


Air and water mattresses are used for very thin or obese patients and for those who are prone to get pressure sores. The principles is that pressure exerted by the body, will be distributed equally in all directions.

Air and water mattresses are plastic mattresses with two sets of chambers. To use them place the mattress on the bed and fill air or water in the compartment. Cover the mattress with light bottom clothes.


  • To improve circulation
  • To provide comfort
  • To prevent pressure sores
  • Used in very thin or very obese patients
  • Used in chronic bed ridden patients


Avoid punctures in the mattress with needles, pins or other sharp objects


Air rings are made of rubber. The air rings is inflated about half full tested for leakage, covered and the placed under the patient’s hip in such a way that the value is on side and not in contact with body.

Cotton rings are made wrapped with bandage. These are placed under the bony prominences such as heels and fastened in place if necessary.


  • Used to lift the hip from bed to prevent bed sores
  • It helps to prevent direct pressure on bony prominence
  • It improves the circulation


Bed cradles vary widely in size and in material. Bed cradles are of wooden, metal or electronic. The bed cradles support and take off the weight of the bedding.

Bed cradle are semi-circular in shape made of wood or metal or entirely made of metal tubing or slats.


  • Used to prevent the top cloth is coming in contact with the patients especially in burns patients
  • To apply heat in case of dying plaster casts
  • Electronic bed cradles are used to supply the desired warm to the case of shock


Bed blocks are made up of wood size; it may be high or low. These are placed under the foot of bed for various reasons.


  • To prevent shock
  • To arrest hemorrhage
  • To retain enema
  • After spinal anesthesia
  • After tonsillectomy
  • To provide traction
  • To position in postural drainage


Air cushions are round in shape and made up of rubber. These can be inflated with air. These are used to take off the weight of the body.

Air cushion should not be applied directly in contact with skin. They should have a cover.


  • To relieve pressure on certain parts of the body
  • It provides relaxation as it yields to shift off body weight and it relieves pressure on certain parts of the body

Uses: air cushion vehicles work by creating a large force of those points to the ground. This lifts the vehicle off the ground letting it ride on a cushion of air.


 A table is in the hospital for patient’s use during hospitalization. It is used to maximize safety of both patients and staff. Improve patient’s surrounding by modifying the current cardiac table to one that can be kept and folded.

  • Bed table placed in front with a pillow on it, patient can lean forward and take rest
  • Table without pillow is used for writing and meals
  • Used for patients with cardiac conditions and asthma
  • Position should be changed to relieve fatigue


  • Patient can rest over the table with the help of pillow
  • Helps to take meals and in writing


An overhead trapeze is a triangle-shaped metal bar. It hangs from a metal frame, which is attached to the headboard and footboard of the bed. A trianglular metal apparatus above a bed, used to help the patient move and support weight during transfer or position change.

Trapeze bar is suspended from an overhead frame that extends from the foot to head of bed. Patient can grasp the bar to raise the trunk off the bed surface or to move up in bed.


  • Nurse identify comfort needs of patients and family members
  • Nurses design interventions to meet identified needs
  • Intervening variables are considered when designing interventions
  • When interventions are delivered in a caring manner and are effective, and when enhanced comfort is attained, interventions are called “comfort measures”
  • Patients and nurse agree on desirable and realistic health seeking behaviors
  • If enhanced comfort is achieved, patients and family members are more likely to engage in health-seeking behaviors these further enhance comfort
  • When patients and family members are given comfort care and engage in health-seeking behaviors, they are more satisfied with health care and have better health-related outcomes.
  • When patients, families, and nurses are satisfied with health care in an institution, public acknowledgement about that institution’s contributions to health care will help the institution remain viable and flourish. 


TYPES OF COMFORT DEVICES (Role of Nurse in Comfort Measures)
TYPES OF COMFORT DEVICES (Role of Nurse in Comfort Measures)






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