Family Caregiver Communication Tool

The FCCT is a valid and reliable instrument for obtaining information about the frequency, range, and congruence of communication within the patient’s family. It is composed of two subscales: conversation and conformity. The FCCT is a 10-item instrument completed by the primary family caregiver about their communication with family about the patient’s illness and values and beliefs about caregiving. The purpose of FCCT is to conclude a specific caregiver type.

Communication Guide for Caregivers

Based on the principles of the COMFORT™ ℠ communication curriculum, this guide supports family members of cancer patients, addressing how to communicate with the patient, other family members, family members who are far away, and health care providers. It contains practical examples and words of advice to aid family caregivers in their loved one’s cancer journey. The guide is written at the sixth grade level. It has been tested among family caregivers and was found to be readable, relatable, and easy to understand. Caregivers expressed a need for this material and a desire to have it earlier in the illness course.

Wittenberg, E., Goldsmith, J., Ferrell, B., & Ragan, S. L. (2016). Promoting Improved Family Caregiver Health Literacy: Evaluation of Caregiver Communication Resources. Psycho-Oncology. NIHMSID: 766734

COMFORT Health Communication IOS App

This is a Health Communication application (app) for use on an iPhone operating system. As an mHealth translation of the COMFORT curriculum, it is designed to provide supportive communication tools for healthcare providers encountering communication challenges with patients, families, and team members. Written at a sixth-grade level, it offers practice suggestions to support healthcare providers. When tested, participants found it easy to use and navigate, indicating they would use the app with patients, families and other team members.

Goldsmith, J., Wittenberg, E., Ferrell, B. (2015). An App to Support Difficult Interactions among Provider, Patient, and Family. Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology. 6(5), 479-483. doi: 10.6004/jadpro.2015.6.5.8

COMFORT Caregiver Communication About Cancer IOS App

Cancer presents moments of decision-making and change that are unusual to any family. This app provides you with tools for communicating about cancer with the patient, local and distant family members, and healthcare providers. Communication is important when someone in your family is diagnosed with cancer. Why? Talking about cancer affects how you help the patient make decisions about cancer treatment. If you or the patient feels nervous or sad, these feelings can affect the kind of communication you share with each other and with doctors and nurses. Caregiver Communication guides you in conversations about cancer, providing you with topics to discuss, example questions to ask healthcare providers, and tools for caregiving.

COMFORT Plain Language Planner

This tool breaks down into plain language (both Spanish and English) common medications and treatments that cancer patients receive. It describes side effects that patients may experience in easy-to-understand words and gives, also in plain language, practical suggestions on how to prepare for treatment. In short, it removes the mystery from the long and complicated terms patients may hear in the course of their cancer journey. The COMFORT Plain Language Planner is available in hardcopy and as part of the COMFORT Health Communication IOS App. This application was tested on a group of 155 health care professionals and a comparison between written responses before and after the education sessions showed improvement in the use of plain language.

Wittenberg, E., Goldsmith, J., Ferrell, B., & Small Platt, C. (2015). Enhancing Communication Related to Symptom Management Through Plain Language: A Brief Report. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. [Epub ahead of print Jun 4, 2015]. doi: 10.1002/pon.3862.

Wittenberg, E., Ferrell, B., Goldsmith, J., Smith, T., Ragan, S., Glajchen, M., Handzo, G. (Eds.). (2015). Textbook of Palliative Care Communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

This text brings together clinicians and researchers and content was organized by the COMFORT principles. The editorial team includes co-founders of the COMFORT™ ℠ curriculum and chapters address health literacy and cultural communication, patient and family communication, barriers and approaches to palliative care with specific patient populations, advance care planning, and quality of life.

Textbook of Palliative Care Communication powerpoint slides

Download these powerpoint slides for teaching, research, or education on chapters from the Textbook of Palliative Care Communication. Summary slides are provided here for chapters in each section of the book.