Assessment of an interprofessional online curriculum for palliative care communication training

Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, Joy Goldsmith, Betty Ferrell, Molly Burchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Curricular changes to palliative care communication training are needed in order to accommodate a variety of learners, especially in lieu of the projected national shortage of hospice and palliative medicine physicians and nurses. Objective: This study assessed the utility of a palliative care communication curriculum offered through an online platform and also examined health care professionals' clinical communication experiences related to palliative care topics. Design: Four of the seven modules of the COMFORT communication curriculum were made available online, and participant assessments and knowledge skills were measured. Setting: Modules were completed and assessed by 177 participants, including 105 nurses, 25 physicians, and a category of 'other' disciplines totaling 47. Measurements: Premodule surveys consisted of closed-ended items developed by the interdisciplinary research team. Postcurriculum evaluation and knowledge quizzes were used to assess program effectiveness. Results: Among all participants, end-of-life care and recurrence of disease were considered the most challenging communication contexts and discussion about treatment options the least challenging. Mean responses to postcurriculum evaluation for all modules across nurse and physician participants was greater than 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. Conclusions: This study identifies the COMFORT communication curriculum as an effective online curricular tool to teach multiple disciplines specific palliative care communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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