Hospice conference of hope

LAKE PLACID - Three local Hospice organizations will host "Write Your Own Ending: It's About Living Each Day," a full-day conference at the High Peaks Resort, 2384 Saranac Ave., Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The conference - sponsored by High Peaks Hospice & Palliative Care, Hospice of the North Country and Hospice & Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley - is geared toward those facing a life-limiting illness or who care or have cared for someone who is terminally ill and are seeking a more peaceful and dignified end of life experience. Professionals who support people facing imminent death will also benefit.

The conference will feature Stephen Kiernan and Linda Piotrowski, nationally-renowned speakers on end-of-life care.

Kiernan and Piotrowski will offer new perspectives on finding comfort, compassion and dignity when it matters most for someone and their loved ones, whether at home or in the hospital.

The morning workshop, "Love & Parachutes: Shaping the Final Chapter of Your Life," features Kiernan - lecturer, investigative journalist, author and advocate for compassionate end-of-life care. In his critically-acclaimed book, "Last Rites: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System," he writes, "I found the way we die in America has changed dramatically and the way we care for people not changing at all. I found people suffering needlessly."

Using both scientific research and intimate portraits Kiernan offers a hopeful and profound vision for people, their doctors and families, and proffers alternatives that will aid in clarifying priorities that will profoundly affect them.

"Stephen Kiernan's speaking appearances are certain to change lives and make a significant difference for those fortunate enough to read his book or cross his path," noted David Wolk, president of Castleton State College. "Stephen Kiernan will change your life."

The afternoon session, "Every Ending Has a Story: Uncovering the Sacred in Life's Journey," will feature Piorkowski who said, "The values, principles, and core practices of palliative care have earned recognition. Attending to the patient and the family - as a single unit of care - partnering with other healthcare professionals, using an interdisciplinary team approach, managing symptoms, assisting with ethical/shared decision-making, coordinating and insuring continuity of care, and spiritual assessment with spiritual well-being as a goal of care all have served to afford palliative care a respected place on the medical team."

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