Leading the Conversation: Palliative Care Social Work and Ethics at End-of-Life

March 7, 2017

Check In: 8:00 - 8:30 am
Program: 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Rockefeller Research Laboratory Building
430 E 67th Street
New York, NY 10065

OVERVIEW

Prolonged treatments and reliance on technology have increased complexities around decision-making throughout the illness trajectory and at end-of-life. Therefore, treatment decisions are more complicated for the patients and families we serve and can lead to breakdowns in communication on multiple fronts. These options often delay the introduction of palliative care and social work involvement, resulting in increased anxiety, pain and severity of symptoms. They also contribute to moral distress for staff resulting in burnout and compassion fatigue.

These factors create challenges for the health care team and for the principles of social work practice in palliative and end-of-life care. This half-day conference will address some of the ethical issues that can result from complex medical treatments, unclear goals of care and resistance to the introduction of palliative care earlier in the treatment process. Through case-based panel discussions and our keynote speaker, these issues will be addressed and attendees will learn ethical principles, problem solving and strategies for taking leadership in these often complex conversations.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  • Describe an overview of ethical frameworks and principles in the medical setting
  • Apply an ethical framework and principles to case examples in the adult and pediatric population
  • Use case-based methodologies for processing intra-professional cases with ethical complexities
  • Develop strategies for utilizing social work leadership and skills to manage ethical challenges in the healthcare setting
This conference will attract social workers and human services professionals who provide services to Veterans, Military Service Personnel and their larger support networks (e.g. spouses, children, and extended family).  It will increase the knowledge base on the intersection of specific Veteran and Military Service issues (e.g. substance abuse, PTSD, homelessness, families, housing, employment, education, advocacy, wellness, alternate paths to care, family violence).    
This conference will attract social workers and human services professionals who provide services to Veterans, Military Service Personnel and their larger support networks (e.g. spouses, children, and extended family).  It will increase the knowledge base on the intersection of specific Veteran and Military Service issues (e.g. substance abuse, PTSD, homelessness, families, housing, employment, education, advocacy, wellness, alternate paths to care, family violence).    

Featured Presenter

Lirio Negroni
Wendy Walter, LICSW, OSW-C (Keynote Speaker)
 

Wendy Walters, LICSW, OSW-C has been in direct clinical practice for the last 30 years, working with terminally ill patients and their families. She spent her first 13 years working as a direct care medical social worker in hospice care, then spent the next 4 years at a different hospice company as education coordinator, providing education around a variety of end-of-life issues with both hospice staff and healthcare professionals in the community. For the last ten years, Wendy’s role has been working in the intensive care units, working with the primary teams with mainly families of dying patients in the ICU setting as they are asked to make difficult decisions.

Wendy has developed multiple programs over the years, including a housewide bereavement support program in the hospital, developing the Psychosocial & Spiritual Grand Rounds, facilitating and coordinating UAB’s chapter of the national Schwartz Center Rounds, and developing a monthly Ethics Case Conference series. Wendy has served on the hospital’s ethics committee since 2009, taking over as Vice-Chair of the committee in 2014, and ultimately moving into a fulltime ethics consultant position in December 2016. Ethics is and continues to be the primary focus of Wendy’s interest.