Comfort Matters got its start in 2005, when Beatitudes Campus, a Life Plan Community, partnered with Hospice of the Valley, and received funding from BHHS Legacy Foundation. These funds enabled campus health care staff to teach best practices in dementia care to staff in valley health care organizations. The program focused on comfort to improve quality of care and quality of life for persons with dementia.
Originally Comfort Matters was called Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia: A Model Teaching Program (PCAD). As is true of any palliative care model, its goal was to make people comfortable by relieving the symptoms, pain and stresses of illness. Although palliative care is often associated with end-of-life, Comfort Matters promotes living better with dementia by focusing on the person’s day-to-day comfort. By addressing the significant challenges common to advanced stages of dementia, Comfort Matters education and research improves practices across the spectrum of early to advanced stages.
Comfort Matters education is for all staff who provide care for people with dementia. This includes dietary professionals, housekeeping-laundry-maintenance staff, activity specialists-recreational therapists, social workers, certified nursing assistants, licensed nurses, directors of nursing, managers-directors, spiritual care providers, and administrators. [In the near future, medical care providers (physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners) as well as occupational and physical therapists are expected to have courses designed especially for them.] Hundreds of interdisciplinary teams from long-term care-, assisted living-, and dementia care facilities, have completed and are now implementing Comfort Matters Dementia Care Education at their organizations.
*Beatitudes Campus’ Palliative Care for Advanced Dementia: A Model Teaching Program (PCAD) received the 2013 Public Trust Award from LeadingAge (formerly, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, AAHSA).