Comfort First: Development and pilot testing of a web-based video training to disseminate Comfort Matters dementia care

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023 Aug;71(8):2564-2570. doi: 10.1111/jgs.18346. Epub 2023 Mar 27.


Background: Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (ADRD) are a leading cause of disability and death. In late-stage ADRD most people prioritize comfort, but care to achieve comfort is rare. Comfort Matters combines palliative and geriatric care practices for nursing home dementia care, but in-person training reaches few sites. To facilitate dissemination, we developed Comfort First, a web-based training toolkit with video demonstration of Comfort Matters practices.

Methods: We developed and pilot-tested Comfort First (NIA Intervention Stage 1). Stakeholder advisors representing nursing home residents, caregiver, and clinical perspectives guided development. Professional videographers filmed Comfort Matters staff to illustrate comfort-focused dementia care skills. Video training modules, supported by an implementation manual, address Understanding the Person with Dementia, Promoting Quality of Life and Comfort, Working as a Team, Responding When People with Dementia are Distressed, Addressing Pain, and Making Comfort First a Reality. We then delivered Comfort First to 3 nursing homes. Implementation and outcome evaluation assessed the number and clinically diverse roles of trained staff and post-test knowledge.

Results: Nursing home staff roles (n = 146) were diverse: certified nursing assistants (40%), nurses (19%), administrators (11%), activities staff (6%), therapy staff (5%) and other roles. Individual participants' knowledge scores ranged from 50-100%; however average post-test knowledge scores were high, ranging from 90% (Addressing Pain) to 99% (Promoting Quality of Life and Comfort, Making Comfort First a Reality).

Conclusions: The Comfort First web-based training toolkit combines best practices in palliative care and geriatric care for ADRD, using video demonstrations to support broader dissemination of these skills. Initial evaluation demonstrates acceptability and knowledge uptake for staff in diverse clinical roles; future research should include evaluation of practice change. Consistent with the intent of its public funding, Comfort First will be widely disseminated at a minimal cost.

Keywords: comfort; dementia; nursing home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Pain
  • Palliative Care
  • Quality of Life