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Comfort Theory, palliative care, pediatrics, staff education



  1. Lafond, Deborah A. DNP, PPCNP-BC, CPON, CHPPN
  2. Bowling, Sabrina BSN, RN, CPN
  3. Fortkiewicz, Justine Mize MSN, RN, CCRN, CPN
  4. Reggio, Cheryl BN-PC, RN, CPON, BMTCN
  5. Hinds, Pamela S. PhD, RN, FAAN


Primary palliative care improves access to symptom control and quality-of-life care for children and families and can reduce moral distress in clinicians. This article describes the application of a nursing theory framework for an evidence-based practice/quality improvement project that embedded pediatric primary palliative care into a hospital-based setting using unit-specific projects. An evidence-based practice/quality improvement project, guided by the Comfort Theory(TM), provided primary palliative care education and mentorship to improve knowledge, skills, and attitudes of direct care clinicians. Training consisted of didactic and self-directed learning, mentoring, and completion of unit-based projects to establish meaning and impact best practices and policies. A total of 149 direct care clinicians, comprising 3 cohorts, enrolled in the program. Improvements in interdisciplinary collaboration in care were demonstrated through 21 unit-based projects, the development of triggers for specialty palliative care consults in several high-risk populations, and the development of institutional guidelines for end-of-life care. The Comfort Theory(TM) guided integration of palliative care for children with serious illness and their families. This project empowered direct care clinicians in caring for patients, providing support to clinical staff, and in developing best practices.