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Palliative Care Nursing Communication

An Evaluation of the COMFORT Model

Fuoto, Abby, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP, ACHPN; Turner, Kathleen M., DNP, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: April 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 2 - p 124–130
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000493
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Despite the frequency, complexity, and intensity of communication that occurs between nurses, patients, and families, palliative care nurses often struggle with end-of-life communication. The primary goal of this quality improvement project was to increase nurse confidence and satisfaction engaging in end-of-life communication following the implementation of the COMFORT model; the secondary goal was to improve patient-family satisfaction with care provided in the palliative care unit. Fourteen palliative care nurses attended a 4-hour course to learn the tenets of the COMFORT model and practice through role-play exercises. A repeated-measures design was used to measure nurse confidence and satisfaction precourse, postcourse, and 3 months postcourse. A between-subjects pre-post design was used to compare family satisfaction survey scores in the 3-month period before versus the 3 months after implementation. Analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in all measures of nurse confidence and satisfaction from precourse to postcourse and from precourse to 3 months postcourse. There was no statistical difference between the family satisfaction survey scores before versus after training, although survey results were generally high at baseline and most respondents rated palliative services with the best possible response. This project demonstrates that COMFORT model training increased confidence and satisfaction of palliative care nurses engaged in end-of-life communication and demonstrates potential for use in other clinical areas that do not specialize in end-of-life nursing (eg, critical care) but find themselves in need of the communications skills to address end-of-life care.

Abby Fuoto, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP, ACHPN, is nurse practitioner, Banner University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ.

Kathleen M. Turner, DNP, RN, is associate professor of nursing, Duke University, Durham, NC.

Address correspondence to Abby Fuoto, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP, ACHPN, Banner University of Arizona Cancer Center, 3838 N. Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719 (abby.fuoto@gmail.com).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.