Conference to Enhance Care at Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities in Eastern Oregon

05/05/04    Portland, Ore.

Topics will include tips for communicating with caregivers morally opposed to limiting life-sustaining treatments when their beliefs conflict with family wishes

The Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health & Science University and other sponsors are hosting a program to enhance care at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout eastern Oregon. Attendees of the May 6 program will include various health care staff, including: nurses, administrators, certified nursing assistants and faith-based leaders.

The specific goals of the program include:

  • Enhancing communication skills for dealing with situations where physicians and patients have differing views on the need for life-sustaining treatments.
  • Dealing with loss from the caregiver perspective.
  • How to respond to residents with threatening behaviors.
  • Improving communications with physicians to better ensure that patients' needs are being met.
  • Building new bridges of communication between facilities throughout eastern Oregon.

"We've found that when caregivers gather and discuss problems and possible solutions, the resulting conversations can benefit everyone involved," said Susan Tolle, M.D., a conference organizer, presenter and director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care at OHSU. "By sharing ideas and building new bridges, together we can further improve the quality of care for all Eastern Oregon Long Term Care Facilities." Tolle is also a professor of medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

The conference will feature a very unique topic: how to communicate with caregivers when the caregivers wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments do not match those of the patients and their families. To address this issue, organizers developed a case study based on real-life events. The exercise will include a dramatic video presentation followed by a live role-playing exercise.

Additional sponsors of the program include the Providence Center for Health Care Ethics, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Oregon Seniors and People with Disabilities. Funding was provided by The Collins Medical Trust and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.