Health Care Providers From Across Oregon Gather to Improve End-of-life Care

10/01/01    Portland, Ore.

This year's Change Agents Conference to focus on end-of-life care for children, minorities and other special populations

Medical professionals from across the state will gather in Portland on Wednesday, Oct. 3 with the goal of improving health care for Oregonians in their final days. "Improving Care of the Dying: Change Agents in Action," is the third installment of a series of workshops hosted by the Oregon Health & Science University's Center for Ethics in Health Care. The program is being held at the Portland Marriott, 1401 S.W. Naito Parkway, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year's conference will focus on improving end-of-life care by altering health care policies, procedures and protocols to better meet the needs of special populations of dying patients. The daylong program will include a presentation on the experiences of Northwestern University associate professor Joel Frader, M.D., in developing a pediatric palliative care program at his hospital. Participants will hear about the experiences of a family member who recently lost a loved one, highlighting the importance of individualized care. Other workshops will focus on the difficulties of treating dying patients with dementia, developing rituals to honor loss, and working with patients and families from different cultures.

"With the recent terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and the subsequent concerns about the treatment of certain cultural groups, this topic is more important than ever," said Susan Tolle, M.D., director of OHSU's Center for Ethics in Health Care. "Our goal is to ensure that all Oregonians receive the same high level of care in their dying days while continuously improving that level of care."

The conference will help attendees assess the current status of end-of-life care in their organizations and identify possible areas for future improvement. Health care providers will be encouraged to develop a plan outlining the next steps for change to improve care of the dying.

The change agents conference is partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Collins Foundation.

Editors: If you are interested in attending the conference or meeting with participants, please contact Jim Newman in University News and Publications at 503 494-8231.