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COMFORT Curriculum: TEAM

Activity Details
  • Credit Amounts:
    • CME: 1.25
    • CPE: 1.25
    • CNE: 1.00
    • CHES: 1.00
  • Cost: Free
  • Release: May 27, 2015
  • Expires: May 26, 2018
  • Estimated Time to Complete:
    1 Hour(s)  15 Minutes
  • System Requirements:
  • Average User Rating:
    (4 Ratings)


Joy Goldsmith Joy Goldsmith, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Communication Studies
Young Harris College
Young Harris, Georgia

Sandra Ragan Sandra Ragan, PhD
Professor Emerita
Department of Communication
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma

Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles Elaine Wittenberg-Lyles, PhD
Associate Professor
Markey Cancer Center and Department of Communication
College of Communication and Information
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky

Needs Statement

An interprofessional Team approach is vital to support a patient and family facing terminal diagnosis (Wittenberg-Lyles, et al., 2008). Depending on the care facility and resources available, the "team" might be a fully developed interdisciplinary palliative care team (i.e., social worker, chaplain, psychologist, nurse, bereavement specialist, palliative care physician, etc.), or smaller facilities with fewer resources can offer a slimmer, but just as important, team of support professionals (i.e., social worker, chaplain).

Terminally ill patients and families deserve and require continuous communication among team members to ensure coordination of care (Wittenberg Lyles, 2005). However, though teams share information on topics such as patient diagnosis, medical history, and assessment of pain management, they do not always discuss whether and how patients and family members have been informed about the possibility of imminent death (Wittenberg Lyles, 2005).

Team meetings among clinicians are a good way to develop consistent, coordinated, and culturally appropriate approaches to breaking terminal news. Cohesive team communication can also be a way to reinforce and recognize best practices in patient communication to be used by all team members (Speck, 2006). Disciplinary differences in orientation serve to protect but also create conflict within the team (Goldsmith, et al., In press)---another exigent need for the COMFORT initiative in education training as students from multiple perspectives prepare for team communication and structure.

The nature of the team helps to ensure a sense of non-abandonment. Clinicians must emphasize that the patient will not be deserted after the diagnosis, and the family members will not be deserted during the illness and after the death of the patient. Additionally, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, pain management, medical equipment, and treatments to palliate are important subjects to include for the patient, while references to relevant support groups and information sources are appropriate for family members. The team structure can ensure ongoing communication about options for support for patients and caregivers before and after the patient’s death.


Goldsmith, J., Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Rodriguez, D., & Sanchez-Reilly, S. (In press). Interdisciplinary geriatric and palliative care team narratives: Collaboration practices and barriers. . Qualitative Health Research.

Speck, P. (2006). Teamwork in Palliative Care: Fulfilling or Frustrating? Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wittenberg Lyles, E. (2005). Information sharing in interdisciplinary team meetings: an evaluation of hospice goals. Qualitative Health Research, 15(10), 1377-1391.

Wittenberg-Lyles, E., Goldsmith, J., Sanchez-Reilly, S., & Ragan, S. L. (2008). Communicating a terminal prognosis in a palliative care setting: deficiencies in current communication training protocols. Soc Sci Med, 66(11), 2356-2365.

Target Audience

All health professionals especially those who practice entirely or in part within teams who treat patients in palliative care.


Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the main principles of interdisciplinary team collaboration
  2. Recognize team meetings as a place to collaborate and resolve conflict
  3. Identify a communication skill to practice with interdisciplinary team members
  4. Identify a communication skill to practice to ensure effective team meetings



The University of Kentucky College of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine presents this activity for educational purposes only. Participants are expected to utilize their own expertise and judgment while engaged in the practice of medicine. The content of the presentations is provided solely by presenters who have been selected for presentations because of recognized expertise in their field.

ACGME Competencies

  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Professionalism

ACPEThe University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

This knowledge-based activity has been assigned UAN 0022-9999-15-074-H04-P and will award 1.25 contact hours (0.125 CEUs) of continuing pharmacy education credit in states that recognize ACPE providers.

Statements of participation will indicate hours and CEUs based on participation and will be issued online at the conclusion of the activity. Successful completion includes completing the activity, its accompanying evaluation and/or posttest (score 70% or higher) and requesting credit online at the conclusion of the activity. Credit will be uploaded to CPE Monitor, and participants may print a statement of credit or transcript from their NABP e-profile. The College complies with the Accreditation Standards for Continuing Pharmacy Education.

The University of Kentucky, College of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC).

This educational activity is offered for a maximum of 1.00 ANCC contact hour.

The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) approves The University of Kentucky, College of Nursing (UKCON) as a provider as well. ANCC and KBN approval of a continuing nursing education provider does not constitute endorsement of program content nor commercial sponsors. The University of Kentucky does not approve commercial products. This educational activity is offered for a maximum of 1.2 KBN contact hours.

Provider #: 3-0008-01-13-387. In order to receive credit, participants complete this CNE activity and submit a credit application and evaluation form online. Certificates may be printed once the evaluation is completed.

The Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University has been designated as a Multiple Event Provider (#KY0022) of Category I continuing education contact hours in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program has been reviewed and approved for up to 1.00 Category I entry level contact hour in health education for event #61028.

Faculty Disclosure

No speakers, authors, planners, reviewers or staff members have any relevant financial relationships to disclose. No other speakers or authors will discuss off-label use of a product.

Content review confirmed that the content was developed in a fair, balanced manner free from commercial bias. Disclosure of a relationship is not intended to suggest or condone commercial bias in any presentation, but it is made to provide participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a presentation.


In collaboration with UK College of Nursing Continuing Education Office and UK Center for Interprofessional Health Education.

CE Content Concerns


Concerns or complaints related to ACPE or ACCME standards may be submitted in writing to the Director of UK HealthCare CECentral by fax to 859-323-2920, or by mail to 2365 Harrodsburg Road, Ste B475, Lexington, KY 40504


  • The Director or his/her designee will review, investigate, forward and/or respond to complaints and will put forth a best effort to adjudicate the issue(s), along with CECentral staff members, within two (2) weeks of receipt of the grievance or complaint.
  • If needed, concerns, complaints, or grievances will be brought before the UK HealthCare CECentral Advisory Board.
  • Issues regarding activity content also will be reviewed and addressed by the Activity Director.
  • A written decision will be issued in a timely manner by the Director of UK HealthCare CECentral or his/herdesignee.
  • Grievances will be considered when planning future activities.

Appeal Procedure

  • Persons who wish to appeal a decision should address the appeal by email, fax or in writing to the Director of UK HealthCare CECentral within two (2) weeks of receipt of the response.
  • The Director will bring the appeal to the UK HealthCare CECentral Advisory Board.
  • The results of the appeal will be sent to the participant no later than two (2) weeks following the meeting of the board.