On Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., The Gerontology Program and Crossroads Hospice Charitable Foundation will present “A Journey Through the End of Life: A Family’s Perspective” at Youngstown State University.
This event, the first of its kind and topic at YSU, is an in-depth look at the journey through the end-of-life care from a family’s perspective. The conference includes a panel of presentations and is intended for social workers, counselors, nurses, nursing home administrators, clergy and many other professionals who would benefit in learning more about the journey through the end of life.
The event will consist of four presentations by Daniel J. Van Dussen, Amy Plant, Lori Pugh and Rev. James Brandis. Selected topics for the morning conference include “The Appropriateness of Hospice Care,” “Using the Care Team as a GPS,” “The Road Ahead: Every Journey is Different” and “The Ultimate Destination: What to Say When You Don’t Know What To Say.” During each presentation, there will be time for questions and answers.
Van Dussen, professor of gerontology at YSU, is the keynote speaker for the event. After his presentation, participants will be able to more effectively understand hospice and the overall philosophy of hospice care, differentiate between palliative care and hospice care, discuss strategies for timely and effective hospice discussions with family members and explain hospice’s role in the bereavement process.
Van Dussen hopes the audience will gain a better understanding of the appropriate timing and who should influence the choice of when to use hospice care. He stated that this event is of importance to him because it is his primary area of research.
“I know what the amount of good hospice care does for the person and their family during and after the dying process,” Van Dussen said.
Plant, second year graduate research assistant in gerontology and Gerontological Society of America Ambassador at YSU, assists in organization and the curriculum development for this conference. Plant also serves as program consultant — working on the implementation and promotion of the conference — as well as a panel speaker and program facilitator.
“This conference is important to me because I believe in the hospice philosophy. As a court-appointed advocate and guardian of older adults, I placed five different individuals in hospice and saw them through their end-of-life,” she said.
The conference topic was chosen due to Crossroads Hospice’s interests in offering professionals and other individual insight into the end-of-life experience for family members, highlighting on what they experience and how they navigate the journey.
The YSU Gerontology Program and Hospice hopes that this conference will further empower professionals and others to be effective team members and decision-makers, as well as bring heightened awareness and empathy as they work together to meet the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of both patient and family.
Plant stated that this topic is both informative and relevant, but also timely for a great number of individuals and professionals.
“Our conference delves into some of the less talked about aspects of hospice care and also touches on a wide variety of topics, some of which include common misconceptions of hospice, various options, communicating with the interdisciplinary team, ethical considerations, cultural diversity and how it impacts service delivery and communication, as well as understanding the difference between providing answers and providing presence at the end of life,” she said.
Crossroads Hospice sponsored this conference in conjunction with the YSU Gerontology Programs through a grant from the Crossroads Foundation. The YSU Metro College provided additional assistance in registering participants and marketing the event.
4.0 CEU hours are available for social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, registered nurses, community health workers, dialysis technicians and medication aides. An application has been made for 4.0 CEU hours for nursing home administrators and residential care assisted living.
The conference fee for general admission is $35 and the student fee is $10. The registration fee includes participation in the Conference, CEUs — if applicable — refreshments and parking.