Making end-of-life decisions is something that we will all face, and how we approach these ethical dilemmas is the topic of discussion at Hospice of the Foothills’ annual education event. This year’s program, “End of Life Ethics,” will examine, using a case-study approach, the ethical issues and dilemmas that emerge at the end of life, the principles of ethical decision-making and the effects of these decisions on staff and families.
Participants will learn about the process of ethical decision-making, the five principles of bio-medical ethics, the ways that cultural values and beliefs may influence ethical decisions at the end of life and how ethical issues can create moral distress and influence the grief reactions of families as well as hospice and palliative care staff and volunteers.
The program was designed with professionals in mind that include clergy, nurses, nursing home administrators, social workers, physicians, funeral directors, marriage and family therapists, caregivers and those working with death, dying, grief or bereavement. The program is useful for all levels of education — entry level, intermediate or advanced.
The program has two parts: a video session moderated by Lynn Sherr, former ABC News 20/20 correspondent, followed by a panel discussion. The video program will be shown at Hospice of the Foothills’ Kerby Community Room from 2:15 to 4:45 p.m. The panel discussion will follow from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. and is required for continuing education credit.
Hospice of the Foothills has gathered an expert panel on end-of-life ethical issues. Panelists include Jeff Kane, M.D., director of psychosocial education at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital; David Swetman, chaplain at SNMH; Lauren Swinney, R.N., O.C.N., director of oncology at SNMC; Brad Helmuth, M.Div., spiritual care coordinator at Hospice of the Foothills; and the Rev. Carol Richey, spiritual care counselor at Hospice of the Foothills.
Cynthia Meilicke, Allied Services supervisor for Hospice of the Foothills, supports her clients, knowing that “exploration of our beliefs and responses regarding end-of-life decisions is essential to living well and loving well and, ultimately, mourning well. The decisions made at the end of life affect not only the way in which the person dies but also the ways the bereaved face the loss. Helping families navigate the issues before they become a crisis is a tangible takeaway from this program.”
For over a decade, the Hospice Foundation of America has sponsored this annual educational event, which has been instrumental in educating health care professionals and families on issues affecting end-of-life care. Hospice of the Foothills is offering this year’s program during National Hospice Month, recognizing the comfort, love and respect provided by health care professionals who will benefit from the opportunity to share and exchange ideas and obtain continuing education credits.
To register or for information, call Cynthia Meilicke at (530) 272-5739.