In June 2017, with generous funding from the Ernst & Paula Deutsch Foundation, the Zelda Foster Studies Program launched a unique and innovative course in the skills, methodologies, interventions, and sensitivities needed to provide culturally congruent care to Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind (D/HH/DB) clients, their families and health care providers. According to US Census Bureau data, in the New York area alone there are an estimated 12,400 elderly deaf people (64 years of age and older). Yet until we launched our initiative, there were no educational programs for palliative and end-of-life care (PELC) social workers about the distinct needs of this population. Due to the success of the 2017 programming, The Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End-of-Life Care secured funding from the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation to offer additional training on meeting the needs of Deaf patients and families.
On June 11, 2019, we offered a full day conference for PELC social workers that provided an overview of deaf culture, education on the legal rights and accessibility challenges that deaf individuals face, a review of home health care resources for deaf patients and families facing a major illness, and a discussion on the unique challenges for deaf individuals of color.
Additionally, we will be offering four evening lectures that focus on the needs of the Deaf in the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year as well - dates and presenters will be posted on the web page once they are scheduled.