Compassion at the end of life: Nov. 9 conference

compassionate care at the end of life
Compassion at the end of life: Nov. 9 conference
Photo credit: Tom Cogill

(9-26-13) What’s the best way for clinicians to break bad news? How do African-Americans deal with end-of-life issues? How can animals help ease suffering? And how can you help children grieve?

These topics, among many others, will be explored during a day-long conference at the University of Virginia School of Nursing on November 9, 2013, in McLeod Hall. The Melton D. and Muriel Haney Interprofessional Conference, “Compassionate Care at the End of Life,” will bring together more than two hundred health professionals who share interest in relieving suffering and providing compassionate care to individuals and families during the waning days of life.

The aim, said conference organizer Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu, is to fortify the clinical, compassionate and communication skills of clinicians who work with families and patients who are dying, to underscore the importance of identifying risk factors and symptoms of burnout among caregivers, and to offer treatments and coping strategies – and hope – for those going through such difficult and profound periods.

“Coming together for a day to talk about some of the poignant, difficult issues that face nurses, physicians, families and patients themselves is a way to begin this important conversation,” said Bauer-Wu, the Kluge Professor in Contemplative End of Life Care and director of the Compassionate Care Initiative. “It’s through communication about death, and the experience of losing someone, that we’re really able to begin to help what hurts – and to begin to heal.”

Speakers include a wide range of faculty from U.Va. School of Nursing, School of Medicine, and clinicians from UVA Medical Center, Martha Jefferson Hospital, and the Hospice of the Piedmont, among other organizations. Planning committee members include Bauer-Wu, Daniel Becker, the Kluge Professor of Palliative Medicine and director of the center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities at U.Va., James Avery, CEO of Hospice of the Piedmont, Mina Ford, a palliative care advanced practice nurse at Martha Jefferson Hospital, and Suzanne Hilton Smith, palliative care chaplain at Martha Jefferson.

Registration information is available online. For more information, please contact Tricia Wilson, Office of Continuing Medical Education: 434-924-1657.