MGH Institute of Health Professions Hosts Conference for Family and Professional Caregivers

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February 8-9, 2007, MGH Institute of Health Professions will host a conference called, "Maintaining Compassionate Care: Strategies to Prepare Family-Professional Caregiver Teams for Ethical Dilemmas of Caregiving in Times of Uncertainty."

February 8-9, 2007, MGH Institute of Health Professions will host a conference called, "Maintaining Compassionate Care: Strategies to Prepare Family-Professional Caregiver Teams for Ethical Dilemmas of Caregiving in Times of Uncertainty."

"Attendees will address constructive approaches to the extremely challenging situations that family and professional caregivers must face together when a patient's clinical prognosis turns uncertain regarding informed preferences and quality of life," said conference co-directors Ruth Purtilo, PT, PhD and Ellen M. Robinson, RN, PhD.

A pre-conference President's Lecture beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2007, will feature Dr. Muriel Gillick presenting a talk entitled: "Shades of Gray: Helping Patients and Caregivers with Decisions Near the End of Life." This lecture is free and open to the general public.

Dr. Gillick is a geriatrician and palliative care specialist with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and an Associate Professor in the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School. Her area of interest is ethical issues near the end of life, a field in which she has published widely, including four books for a general audience, the most recent of which was The Denial of Aging: Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).

On Friday, February 9, 2007, conference registration opens at 7:30 a.m. Presentations will be given throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m., and topics include:

> "The Acute Care Unit: How can the stresses of uncertainty be channeled to cooperative effort?"

> "The Rehabilitation Setting: What is a realistic outcome?"

> "The Neurological Unit: How can we honor the patient's wishes under such pressure to make an urgent decision?"

The keynote address, entitled "How Sick is Too Sick? How Disabled is Too Disabled?" will be presented by Kristi L. Kirschner, MD, Medical Director of the Women with Disabilities Center, and Director of the Donnelly Family Disability Ethics Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and of Medical Ethics and Humanities at Northwestern University Medical School.

The conference will end with a wine and cheese reception at 4 p.m. To download a brochure and register, please visit: http://www.mghihp.edu/aboutus/news, the cost is $60 for health professionals and $30 for family caregivers.

The conference is sponsored by The Ethics Initiative at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, The Ethics in Clinical Practice Committee, and The Institute of Patient Care, MGH Patient Care Services, with funding provided by the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center.

The MGH Institute of Health Professions, an academic affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital, is an innovative and independent post-baccalaureate school that operates within the framework of Partners HealthCare System. A progressive leader in developing comprehensive models of health care education, the MGH Institute prepares advanced practice professionals in the fields of nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, medical imaging and clinical investigation through a distinctive combination of academic study, clinical practice and research. An average of 800 students are enrolled in graduate level and certificate programs, with an increasing number of courses available online. The Institute is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

[Editors: Our style preference is to not spell out 'MGH' on a first reference to our name, as it incorrectly implies the Institute is a department within the hospital. Alternately, we recommend, "The MGH Institute of Health Professions, an academic affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital ..."]

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