COMFORT is an acronym representing the seven basic principles of palliative care communication: C – Connect, O – Options, M – Making Meaning, F – Family Caregivers, O – Openings, R- Relating, T – Team. The model is not a linear guide, an algorithm, a protocol, or a rubric for sequential implementation by nurses, but rather a set of holistic principles that are practiced concurrently and reflectively during patient/family care. This patient-centered approach emphasizes the collaborative, reciprocal nature of clinician-patient-family interactions as participants relationally create and adapt to shared meaning and addresses the complex social determinants of health that impact patient and family health literacy.
Connect – To connect is to achieve shared understanding in communication
Options – Communicating options includes realizing that knowledge does not equate with understanding and understanding does not equate with behavior
Making Meaning– Making meaning involves helping patients and families make meaning of their suffering
Family Caregivers – Family is essential in navigating and delivering care and is central to the success of a care plan.
Openings – Openings offers a tool for recognizing that tension is a clear indication of a needed transition in care.
Relating – Relating involves attending to the relationship to understand the true motives and goals of a patient/family.
Team – Team communication skills for are necessary for leading teams and establishing leadership roles.