Welcome to this online training resource. It is designed to support necessary discussions about comfort care with family carers of residents with advanced dementia.

As people living with advanced dementia may struggle to communicate their wishes and preferences for care, this training aims to equip nurses working in care homes to involve family carers in the shared decision-making process at the end-stage of life.

Introduction to the resource

Professor Kevin Brazil, Dr Gillian Carter, and Professor Christine Brown Wilson will introduce you to the Comfort Care Guide in this video:

What is comfort care?

‘Comfort care’ is a term used to describe the plan of care for a person when they are coming to the end of their lives. It focuses on maximising their quality of life at this time by reducing symptoms such as discomfort and pain. For example, when a person is no longer eating and drinking, a comfort care approach may involve providing mouth care and comfort feeding (through careful hand feeding) as opposed to inserting a feeding tube or administering intravenous fluids.

Comfort care is different to advance care planning but may form part of this approach. If there is no advance care plan in place, comfort care can still be provided with family carers engaged in the process. This resource explains how.

Dr Karen Harrison Dening briefly describes the relationship between the progression of dementia and comfort care, and how this involves family carers:

How will this training help me in my role?

Completing this resource will enable you to facilitate these important and necessary discussions about end-of-life care with the family carers of your residents with advanced dementia. By promoting comfort care at this time, you will be ensuring that the person with dementia has the best quality of life possible until they die. Engaging with family carers proactively can also reduce their uncertainty and improve their experiences.

You will find this training relevant to aspects of the NMC Code within the ‘prioritise people’ and ‘practice effectively’ sections. You may wish to include it as part of your CPD log and use the completion of it and/or its application in practice as the basis for reflective accounts for your revalidation portfolio.

Why is this training resource important?

Dr Karen Harrison Dening (Dementia UK) outlines the importance of facilitating comfort care within dementia care and how the Comfort Care Guide can help you to better consider and prepare for the care needs of residents with advanced dementia (and support their family carers to do the same):

The website is designed to:

Build on your knowledge and skills and equip you with what you need to facilitate comfort care discussions with family carers

Be bite-sized and easy-to-digest, so you can work your way through the units at your own pace

Increase your awareness of comfort care and end-of-life care in the context of advanced dementia


Provide you with engaging content that is relevant to your practice

Be accessible and shareable with your colleagues in clinical practice


After completing this training, you will be able to:


Use the Comfort Care Booklet with families of people coming to the end of their lives with advanced dementia


Prepare for, conduct, and assess the outcomes of a Family Care Conference using the Comfort Care Booklet


Understand the principles of supportive communication and shared decision-making and how these are applied during a Family Care Conference


Reflect on your practice following a Family Care Conference and support others to engage in this process

How is the training delivered?

The training content is delivered in four bite-sized units. The units are made up of both written and video content to suit different learning styles. We have also included some questions at the end of each unit to enable you to reflect on your learning. You can complete each of the four units at your own pace.

Unit 1: The Comfort Care Booklet

UNIT 1: The Comfort Care Booklet — In this unit, you will be introduced to the Comfort Care Booklet “Providing Comfort Care to People with Dementia During Their Last Days of Life” and how this should be used in clinical practice.

Unit 2: How to host a Family Care Conference

UNIT 2: How to host a Family Care Conference — Unit 2 describes the purpose of a Family Care Conference and provides practical tips on how to facilitate these meetings with family carers.

Unit 3: Communication skills and discussing sensitive topics

UNIT 3: Communication skills and discussing sensitive topics — In this unit we provide key principles for good communication and the framework to support you in navigating difficult conversations with family carers.

Unit 4: Reflective practice

UNIT 4: Reflective practice — Reflective practice is a key element of this training. This unit will guide you on using reflection as a way to improve and develop your professional practice when facilitating conversations around end-of-life care and when supporting and facilitating colleagues to hold these discussions too.

A certificate of achievement can be downloaded for your records after completing Unit 4. We will also provide some additional resources and invite your feedback as we continue to develop this resource to meet your needs as health care providers.

Contact us

You can join in the discussion with fellow nurses who are using this resource on Twitter at: #comfortcareguide

If you want to reach out, you can email us at comfortcareguide@gmail.com