End-of-life issues focus of BU conference

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — The chief of staff of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging will deliver the keynote address at the conference, “Improving End-of-Life Experiences for Pennsylvanians,” Thursday, May 15, at Portabella Catering, Lightstreet. The conference, which will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is co-sponsored by Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s nursing department, BU’s division of corporate and continuing education, the Northeast Pennsylvania End of Life Coalition, the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and Misericordia University.

Ivonne Gutierrez Bucher from the department of aging will speak at 9 a.m. as the first of the conference’s four featured presenters. A native of Puerto Rico, Bucher has served in several capacities within the department of aging, including deputy secretary of aging and director of the office of community service and advocacy. Most recently, she was reassigned to Gov. Ed Rendell’s office to assist in the implementation of “Prescription for Pennsylvania.”

Other speakers are: attorney Brenda Colbert from Marshall, Parker and Associates, “New Advance Directive Legislation in Pennsylvania”; Todd Hastings from Misericordia University, “Depression in Clients and Caregivers”; and Charles Zola from the Ethics Institute of Northeast Pennsylvania at Misericordia, “End of Life: A Virtue Ethics Perspective.”

The conference is designed “to increase understanding of the emotional, financial, legal and health issues involved in planning for the care of oneself or taking care of loved ones who are no longer able to care for themselves,” said Tom Fletcher, director of BU’s division of corporate and continuing education. “The full-day program will focus on the physical, social, psychological, legal and spiritual aspects confronted at the end of life.”

The program is designed for physicians, nurses, clergy, physician’s assistants, social workers, nursing home administrators, personal care home administrators, attorneys and others concerned with end-of-life issues. The presentation is certified and continuing education units are available for each of these disciplines, Fletcher added.
A conference fee of $65 per person covers the costs of materials, refreshments and the luncheon; the fee is $85 for participants who wish to earn continuing education units. The registration deadline is May 1.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.