As clinicians, whether or not we specialize in “aging” or “end of life” issues, it is likely that we will encounter clients diagnosed with terminal illnesses or facing the impending death of a family member. This workshop will shore up our skills in working in such circumstances by elaborating on challenging communication topics and ethical concerns that can arise for clinicians and clients. These include dilemmas around care-giving and responsibility, expression of physical, psychological and spiritual suffering, disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis, decisions about palliative care and advance directives, and the role of professionals in this process.
Laura Hanson is an Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Center on Aging and Health. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics Medicine, and Palliative Medicine. She co-directs the UNC Palliative Care Program, a collaborative interdisciplinary program to promote clinical service, education and research in palliative care. She serves as a Clinical Coordinator for the Nursing Home Quality Improvement team at The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence in Cary. Her research and teaching emphasize approaches to decision-making for frail elders and for residents in nursing homes, and strategies to define and promote high quality care. Through her teaching, research, advocacy, and practice, Dr. Hanson’s career is devoted to the care of the elderly and those at the end of their lives.