More than 1200 delegates are expected to attend the conference taking place between 5 and 7 November at Walt Disney World, Florida.
The opening plenary presentation was delivered by Dr Therese A Rando, clinical director of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss. Her presentation focused on identifying and treating traumatic stress at the end of life, explaining that life-threatening and terminal illness inherently involves experiences of trauma that result in traumatic stress. The ability of hospice and palliative care professionals to understand these aspects of loss and how to support people can greatly improve the end-of-life experience for patients and families.
Conference participants will have the opportunity to hear from other bereavement professionals throughout the conference during concurrent sessions and networking opportunities. “The bereavement services that hospices provide help those they care for understand and cope with the experience of grief and loss that is unique to every individual,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “We all grieve but no two people grieve in exactly the same way. That’s why we are focusing on grief during the opening of our clinical team conference.”
The NHPCO Distinguished Researcher Award was presented to Dr Holly G Prigerson, director of the Centre for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr Prigerson is an internationally known researcher for her work on bereavement and end-of-life care.
Making the presentation at the opening ceremony J. Donald Schumacher said “Dr. Prigerson has done so much to help providers understand aspects of bereavement that will ultimately help many patients and families who will benefit immensely from her work and the knowledge she has shared,… one of the most important things we can do is shine a light on individuals in this field who are advancing the field of hospice and palliative care.”
More information about hospice and coping with grief are available from NHPCO’s Caring Connections website.