November 2011 is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and the leadership of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is encouraging citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs.
Local Events & Resources
• A reading of the play “Dusk,” by Brian Harnetiaux—Wednesday, November 9, at 5:30 p.m., in the Magovern Auditorium at Allegheny General Hospital. “Dusk” is an intimate family dialogue, guided by the medical social worker, between Gil Everett and his three adult children about his wishes in the event of a health care crisis. “Dusk” explores with humor and humanity the medical, ethical, and spiritual facets of this difficult but necessary conversation.
Following the reading, Nancy Zionts, Chief Program Officer, Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Justin Engleka, Palliative Care Manager at Allegheny General Hospital, Dr. Randy Hebert, Director of Palliative Care for West Penn Allegheny Health System, and Mildred Morrison, Director of the Area Agency on Aging, will discuss the importance of raising awareness about end-of-life care. This event is a collaboration of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Allegheny General Hospital, Forbes Hospice, and the Area Agency on Aging.
“Dusk” is a production licensed by Duke Institute On Care At The End Of Life that is being brought to the community in a continuing effort to raise awareness about the importance of advance planning for individuals and their families.
• Closure 101— Available online, these twelve lessons offer people expert, easy-to-understand information about a wide range of complex end-of-life issues, including: questions to ask your doctor, prognosis, decision making, advance planning, hospice and palliative care, Medicare Hospice Benefit, end-of-life care for children, caregiver stress, long distance care giving, when your loved one is dying, grief and mourning, and religious and cultural issues.
In 2007, Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) launched an education, planning, and outreach effort called Closure, aimed at redefining quality care for people with life-threatening illness by raising expectations and empowering them to seek a different healthcare experience. Closure has two components: Closure Community Conversations and Closure 101.
• Twelve Breaths a Minute, a collaboration between SMU Press and the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, with the support of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, is a hard cover book featuring more than 20 original, compelling personal narratives that examine the way we as a society care for the dying; the softcover version, At the End of Life, will be available in spring 2012.
• The Last Chapter, a WQED documentary funded by JHF, shares stories about people who are experiencing the end of their lives with dignity and meaning. The documentary highlights the choices people have regarding hospice and palliative care and shares the expertise of professionals who work to make sure that people are able to lead fulfilling and quality lives, even with a serious illness. Taking part in end-of-life planning represents an opportunity to have difficult conversations—to take part in and take charge of the care that is provided at the end-of-life. This documentary is scheduled to air nationally on PBS stations.
Visit www.jhf.org for more information.