Original Publication
Open Access

COMFORT-IPE: Communication Training for Interprofessional Patient-Centered Care

Published: December 18, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9298

Included in this publication:

  • COMFORT IPE Instructor's Guide.docx
  • IRM Module 1 Comm.docx
  • IRM Module 2 Orient.docx
  • IRM Module 3 Mindfulness.docx
  • IRM Module 4 Family.docx
  • IRM Module 5 Openings.docx
  • IRM Module 6 Relating.docx
  • IRM Module 7 Team.docx
  • Key Term List By Module.docx
  • Module 1 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 2 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 3 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 4 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 5 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 6 COMFORT IPE.pptx
  • Module 7 COMFORT IPE.pptx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: This resource presents a series of communication skills training modules designed to highlight interprofessional care and communication. Each module of the COMFORT (Communication, Orientation/Opportunity, Mindfulness, Family, Openings, Relating, Team) curriculum can stand alone as a teaching activity or can be integrated into a new or existing course. Methods: Modules C (narrative clinical communication) and F (family caregivers) provide beginner-level instruction, while modules M (mindfulness), O/O (orientation), and T (team) provide intermediate instruction. Finally, modules O (openings) and R (relating) provide advanced communication skills and are intended for learners who have clinical observation experience. Results: Our preliminary research on the effectiveness of the COMFORT communication curriculum has included both clinical audiences and student learners. More than 75% of clinicians exposed to COMFORT report that the activity is considered useful to clinical practice and modules are easy to understand and relevant. Students’ course evaluation score was average of 4.77 out of 5.0, indicating that students perceived the COMFORT communication training as providing knowledge they did not previously possess prior to the course. Discussion: The order of the modules is arbitrary; instructors may determine the order of modules, which modules to cover (not all modules need to be taught and should complement larger course content/goals), and which module is appropriate based on learning level and intended audience.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this resource, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe and begin to practice patient-centered communication and interprofessional collaboration.
  2. Use communication strategies to engage patients in difficult conversations about psychosocial concerns and integrate information into interprofessional care planning.
  3. Share patient/family information in a way that advances interprofessional collaborative care in team meetings.

Author Information

  • Elaine M. Wittenberg-Lyles, PhD, MA: University of Kentucky
  • Joy V. Goldsmith, PhD, MS: Young Harris College
  • Betty Ferrell, PhD, MA, MS, RN, FAAN, FPCN: City of Hope
  • Debra Parker Oliver, PhD, MSW: University of Missouri
  • Andrea Lynn Pfeifle, EdD, PT: University of Kentucky

None to report.

None to report.


Wittenberg-Lyles E, Goldsmith J, Ferrell B, Parker Oliver D, Pfeifle A. COMFORT-IPE: communication training for interprofessional patient-centered care. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9298. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9298