JEFFERSON — Rainbow Hospice Care has announced the 13th annual End-of-Life Conference is set for March 23 at the Olympia Resort and Conference Center in Oconomowoc.

The conference is held each year to benefit Your Friends in Action, a community-based volunteer program serving the needs of the elderly surrounding the greater Jefferson County area.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Preparing for the Future of End of Life Care” and the event features a powerful lineup of keynote and breakout presenters who will teach attendees about innovative solutions to the new problem created by American medicine’s success at fighting disease and extending life.

Among the lineup of presenters is Dr. Justin Sanders of Harvard, whose work with Dr. Atul Gawande on the Serious Illness Care program at Ariadne Labs is revolutionizing end-of-life care and teaching clinicians how to have better conversations with seriously ill patients. Sanders is prepared to start the event with a breakfast keynote speech as well as a breakout session discussing the role of hospice providers in the changing world of health care.

Another featured presenter is Myra Christopher, the Kathleen M. Foley chairwoman for pain and palliative care at the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City. Because of Christopher’s involvement with the Nancy Cruzan case, Sen. John Danforth sought her assistance in drafting and introducing the Patient Self-Determination Act, which became law in 1990. Christopher will be presenting a breakout session as well as a concluding keynote titled “Listening to Willie Nelson with My Family at My Side: Community-Based Palliative Care — What It Means.”

“All across this great nation, hospice and palliative care professionals are developing ways to address the new problem created by our success,” said Mike Bernhagen, director of Community Engagement for Rainbow Hospice Care. “This year’s conference provides a rare opportunity to meet some of those thought leaders and learn about their innovations.”

Each year, physicians, nurses, CNAs, personal care workers, social workers, counselors, clergy, funeral directors, care facility administrators and other professional caregivers attend this conference to network and learn. Six hours of continuing education credit is also available to students. To register for the Rainbow Hospice End-of-Life Conference please visit www.rainbowhospicecare.org or call 920-674-6255.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, for details please contact Michelle Smith at 920-674-6255. Diamond sponsors include Fort HealthCare, Rainbow Hospice Care and Watertown Regional Medical Center. Gold sponsors are ProCare RX, Aster Senior Communities and Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services.

Rainbow Hospice Care is a community based not-for-profit organization that provides a full spectrum of physical, emotional and spiritual care to terminally ill patients and their families in both in-home and inpatient settings. Founded in 1990, Rainbow Hospice Care’s dedicated caregivers have been serving residents in south-central Wisconsin for more than 25 years, supporting patients and families residing in Jefferson County, as well as parts of the surrounding counties. Officials note all patients and their loved ones are treated with the same respect, kindness and concern regardless of age, race, gender, faith, ethnicity, insurance coverage or economic status — focusing on quality of life, maintaining comfort and dignity and providing expert support tailored to each individual’s unique needs and wishes. Those who would like more information regarding grief support groups and other services offered through Rainbow Hospice Care may contact the organization by phone or e-mail.

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