OHSU Sponsors Conference to Enhance Care at Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities

06/23/04   REDMOND, Ore.

Topics of Redmond conference will include tips for communicating with caregivers whose moral opposition to limiting life-sustaining treatments 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 central Oregon. Attendees of the June 24 program will include various health care providers, 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 nursing home 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 central 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 and 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 central Oregon long-term care facilities." Tolle is also a professor of medicine (general internal medicine and geriatrics) 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, and Oregon Seniors and People with Disabilities. Funding was provided by The Collins Medical Trust and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

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