Dementia Care Education & Consulting from Beatitudes Campus

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Comfort Matters is a dementia care education and research program dedicated to improving the quality of care and life for people with dementia.

Benefits of Comfort Matters

For families of persons with dementia

Making a person with dementia comfortable helps his/her family largely because these individuals have fewer things to be concerned about. For example, whenever their person is comfortable, s/he engages more fully with others, resists care less often, and is less prone to weight loss.

Comfort Matters Dementia Care Education encourages family members to partner with staff caregivers in several ways. One of these is to provide staff with information about their person with dementia. A form such as What Caregivers Should Know about Persons with Dementia * gives staff answers to questions like these: How does he like his coffee served? What were her favorite songs? What name does the person want to be called? Staff use this information in conversations with persons with dementia as together they do the person’s activities of daily living. Frequently these conversations bring ease to situations that would not exist otherwise.

Families-close friends of persons with dementia may also benefit by viewing the video The Progression of Dementia.*  Here family members describe what to expect from the person with dementia as s/he progresses through mild, moderate and advanced stages of the disease. The video shows the importance of comfort for the person with dementia as well as his/her family (running time 6:45 minutes).

What Families-Close Friends of Persons with Dementia Need to Know about Comfort Care is an online course available to families-close friends of persons with dementia who live in a health care organization where staff are committed to comfort care. The staff have either completed Comfort Matters Dementia Care Education or are in the process of doing so.


* Click on the underlined phrase to see this content.

Click here to read the one page Introduction to this course and learn more about its content. Taking this course with family members or close friends is a great idea because you will be encouraged to talk with other people about what you’re learning. Of course, you may take the course alone. Or, if you wish, talk with the social worker at the health care organization where your person lives about enrolling along with others who may want to learn alongside you.

Comfort Matters Health Care Organizations arranged according to the states in which they are located is part of this website. You will find addresses as well as contact information for each organization. You will also notice a date, or possibly two dates. The first date is when the organization affiliated with Comfort Matters and staff studied  comfort care coursework.

When there’s a second date, this is the date the organization completed the requirements for accreditation by Comfort Matters. Accreditation means that those organizations have made adaptations to their systems so these focus on comfort and that staff completed their coursework and now embed their learning into practice with persons who have dementia. Organizations that have no second date are typically working toward accreditation, but just haven’t gotten that far along. Click on the Accreditation tab for more information.

What Caregivers Should Know About Persons with Dementia

Record information about this person that allows caregivers to personalize his/her care. Do not answer questions that would violate privacy.

Name: _________________________     Preferred name:___________________________

Birthplace (city and state):_____________________________________________________

Parents’ names:_____________________________________________________________

Parents’ occupation(s):_______________________________________________________

Names of brothers:___________________________________________________________

Names of sisters:____________________________________________________________

Important information about brothers/sisters:_____________________________________

Name of spouse/partner:______________________________________________________

Special memories of wedding day/honeymoon:____________________________________

Children’s names:____________________________________________________________

Grand-/great grandchildren’s names:____________________________________________

Places lived:________________________________________________________________

Educational accomplishments:__________________________________________________


Favorite job(s):______________________________________________________________

Leisure activities:____________________________________________________________

Spiritual affiliation/practices:___________________________________________________

Favorite spiritual songs:_______________________________________________________

Favorite holiday:_____________________________________________________________

Favorite vacation activity/location:______________________________________________

Favorite music:______________________________________________________________

Favorite pet:________________________________________________________________

Special rituals observed:______________________________________________________

Favorite food and drink:_______________________________________________________

Favorite smells:______________________________________________________________

Tobacco use—type:___________________________ frequency:______________________

Wine or spirits use:___________________________ frequency:______________________

Food dislikes:_______________________________________________________________

Coffee/tea use:_______________  served with:____________  frequency_______________

Special food preferences while ill:_______________________________________________

Preferred forms of comforting touch:____________________________________________

Easily subject to temperature changes: cold/hot___________________________________

Preference for bathing:__________________ time of day:___________________________

Clothing preference(s):_______________________________________________________

Footwear preference(s):______________________________________________________

Beauty/barbershop usage: ______________________ frequency:_____________________

Manicure/pedicure usage:_______________________ frequency:_____________________

Shaving needs and razor type:___________________ time of day for shaving:___________

Usual bed time and wake up time:_______________________________________________

Morning routines:____________________________________________________________

Afternoon routines:___________________________________________________________

Source: Beatitudes Campus, 2007;
revised 2013; reprinted
by permission.


Introduction to Families Course

This five-session course is for families and close friends of persons with dementia. Although we cannot guarantee answers to all your questions, we’ll make strong efforts to answer many of them.

The first session provides general information about several types of dementia and helps you understand the changes taking place in the brain of a person with dementia. These changes cause him or her to say and do things differently from what s/he used to. Then, in the second session we help you examine how changes in your relative are likely to affect your relationship with that person and with your family and close friends. Included here are responses that you may expect, some obstacles that you may meet, and suggested ways of taking care of yourselves because self-care for you and your family is really very important.

Starting with the third session, the emphasis is on helping you understand what’s involved in comfort care for your person. Because s/he lives at a health care organization where comfort care is provided, the staff will either be learning about comfort care at the same time you are, or they will have completed their coursework. We believe this arrangement is helpful both to you and the staff caring for your family member.

In the fourth session we help you navigate the situations associated with the time when your person is no longer able to make decisions for him/herself. The whole of this session is about making advance health care plans. This is a matter of great importance and can be confusing for every family who has a person with dementia, so we’ll help you along the way.

In the fifth session the emphasis is on your participation in comfort care for your person. Here we help you understand the importance of partnerships with the staff. After all, you know a great deal about your person that could be helpful in his/her care. And, if you do partner with staff, you’ll have knowledgeable people to answer your questions, and be better equipped to care for him or her.

Though it’s good that you’re participating in this course, it’s better if additional family or friends are involved. Throughout the sessions there are opportunities for you to discuss the information you’re learning. Ideally, you would talk with your family or close friends. However, if none of them is available, ask the staff at the organization about individuals who might want to work together in this course.