Mercer University’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing will host a research conference on end-of-life care Friday, March 26, in the Trustees Dining Room on the University’s Atlanta campus. The conference, titled “Perspectives and Reflections from the Gloaming of Life: Palliative Care and End-of-Life Challenges,” is open to all members of the nursing, theology, pharmacy and medical professions. In addition, nurses who attend may receive 4.5 contact hours on palliative care from the Georgia Nurses Association.
“As more of our health care is provided outside of hospitals, the care of patients with life-limiting illness is increasingly provided in the community by families and informal caregivers,” said Dr. Janet Timms, professor of nursing and one of the conference’s organizers. “There is no right way to live or die as a result of these life-limiting diseases. Each disease presents its own set of challenges for patients and for their caregivers. The conference will provide updated knowledge about palliative care for health professionals, caregivers and individuals facing life-limiting illnesses and equip health professionals and informal caregivers to provide high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care.”
The Rev. Dr. Julie Pennington-Russell, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Decatur and a Mercer Trustee, will be speak at the opening session. Dr. Pennington-Russell’s presentation is titled “Spiritual Dimensions/Care of Those in the Final Stages of Life.”
The conference is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and consists of five sessions in addition to Pennington-Russell’s opening presentation. The morning sessions include: Dr. Robyn Mowery, assistant professor of family therapy in Mercer’s School of Medicine, presenting “Grieving with Hope: Anticipatory Loss through Bereavement” and Dr. Susan S. Gunby, professor of nursing, presenting ‘“Being There’ and ‘Being Here’ During the Phases of Suffering.”
The three afternoon sessions include: Dawn Keller, staff nurse in a cardiovascular intensive care unit for Wellstar Health Systems, presenting “It's a Roller-Coaster Ride: The Lived Experience of Critical Care Nurses Caring for Patients during the Dying Process;” Dr. Denise Massey, associate professor in the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, presenting “How Pastoral Care Giver can Contribute to Palliative Care;” and Elaine Harris, associate professor of nursing, and Ann Keeley, associate professor of nursing, co-presenting ‘“Can You Help Me Find My Bus Ticket?’ Understanding the Communications of Those Who Are Dying.”
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