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 "Encouraging Comfort Care" publication 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post "Encouraging Comfort Care" publication
I read about a new publication titled "Encouraging Comfort Care." Comfort care is the same thing as palliative care, where the focus is on the patient's physical and mental comfort, rather than treatments to restore a person to good health. The publication is from the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Illinois Chapter so focuses on comfort care for dementia patients living in care facilities. But I think everyone -- whether dealing with dementia or not, and whether caring for someone in a facility or not -- will find value in this 21-page care planning booklet.

Here's a link to "Encouraging Comfort Care": ... SINGLE.pdf

According to the table of contents, these topics are covered:
What is comfort care?
Facts about dementia
How the brain and body change over time
Dementia and residential care facilities
Comfort care in action
Medical decisions you may face
What does research tell us?
Who decides?
How to create meaningful and enjoyable visits
Eating can be comforting too
When is it time for hospice care?
Active dying
Checklist for encouraging comfort care
Resources and references

The "checklist for encouraging comfort care" is intended as prompt for discussion "with the facility’s staff, other health care providers, or relatives and friends." Here are some items on the checklist:

_____ Staff know your loved one’s preferences for food, drink, clothing, bathing, etc.
_____ Staff routinely anticipate needs such as hunger, boredom, toileting and fatigue.
_____ Pain is evaluated daily and relief is provided with medications and non-drug measures.
_____ Psychotropic drugs are administered only with your permission.
_____ Staff consistently interact with your loved one in a calm, kind manner.
_____ Staff use language that promotes your loved one’s dignity and individuality.
_____ Staff tap your loved one’s remaining abilities and strengths whenever possible.
_____ Based on your loved one’s wishes and goals of care, you, the physician, and staff have discussed if and when hospitalization should be considered.
_____ Based on your loved one’s wishes and goals of care, a decision has been made if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should/should not be initiated.
_____ Based on your loved one’s wishes and goals of care, you have discussed with the physician and staff if oral or intravenous antibiotics should/should not be initiated.
_____ Staff know your preferences/decisions about hospice care.
_____ Staff routinely engage your loved one in one-to-one activities involving the five senses.
_____ Your loved one’s spiritual needs and practices are addressed.
_____ Funeral arrangements are completed and communicated to staff.
_____ Ways of caring for yourself are practiced on a daily basis.

Here are a few of the resources listed:

Caring Connections is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization aimed at mproving care at the end of life. Contact at (800) 658-8898 or

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. It offers a wealth of information about end of-life-care and referrals to local hospices. Contact at (800) 658-8898 or

National Health Care Decisions Day is an initiative to encourage people to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. For information about advance directives, contact

National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center can direct you to professional and volunteer advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about what to do to get quality care and are trained to resolve problems and assist with complaints. Contact (800) 677-1116 or

Center to Advance Palliative Care provides clear, comprehensive palliative care information for people coping with serious, complex illnesses. Contact

Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:38 pm

Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:01 am
Posts: 62
Location: Wake Forest
Post Re: "Encouraging Comfort Care" publication
This is awesome Robin.

All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother. --Abraham Lincoln

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:34 am

Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3441
Location: Vermont
Post Re: "Encouraging Comfort Care" publication
Thanks for posting this Robin. Tomorrow my dad will have a meeting with my sister and the hospice person to determine just what their care will encompass, and I'll attend the meeting via phone. This is very timely for me. Lynn

Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.

Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:36 am

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: "Encouraging Comfort Care" publication
Actually, I like this publication more:

Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:50 pm
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