April 29, 2016 - Archdiocese to Host First Annual Palliative Care Colloquium: A Better Model of Care and a Model of Best Practice April 30, 2016

Braintree, MA (April 29, 2016) – On Saturday, April 30, 2016, the Archdiocese of Boston will host the First Annual Palliative Care Colloquium: A Better Model of Care and A Model of Best Practice.  The event takes place at the Pastoral Center for the Archdiocese, 66 Brooks Dr, Braintree, MA.  The colloquium begins at 8am and ends at 1pm.

The conference, which will now occur as a regular event in the life of the Archdiocese, marks the end of the first year of the Initiative for Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning.  Keynote speaker is Ira Byock, MD, who is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

In addition to Dr. Byock’s presentation, other experts in Palliative Care will speak and there will be opportunity to engage the speakers with questions and discussion. The morning will end with the celebration of Holy Mass.  Renowned bioethicist Peter Cataldo, Chief Healthcare Ethicist for the Archdiocese of Boston, will also offer remarks about Catholic teaching on palliative care.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley said, “This important Archdiocesan initiative is designed to be innovative and organic.  Our goal is to establish ‘palliative care resource groups’ at our parishes and collaboratives, so that we can help our parishioners and members of the wider community learn more about how they or their loved ones can gather information about and have access to palliative care.”

MC Sullivan, Director of the Initiative for Palliative Care and Advance Care planning, said “palliative care has long been supported and promoted by Popes John Paul II, Benedict and Francis, each of whom have spoken specifically about it and our need to integrate it into our lives and into the compassionate care we give to those living with serious illness and the frailty of aging.”

Palliative care is multidisciplinary and coordinated care which treats the whole person, in every aspect of our humanity, as it deals with pain and other physical symptoms, addresses psychosocial needs that stem from the impact of serious illness on patients and their families, treats emotional problems that stem from living with or in the presence of serious illness, and provides spiritual support to those who feel burdened or isolated as they or their loved ones cope with serious illness.

One of the goals of the initiative is to remind people, or in some instances inform them for the first time, that Palliative Care which is patient-focused and family-oriented works to celebrate life.  In addition this program helps to restore the extraordinary value to the time when awareness of our own mortality or temporality while making us aware of how extraordinary are the gifts of the relationships we share with those who make the journey across the ‘plains’ of serious illness with us.

Ms. Sullivan said, “with that awareness and the way in which we can ‘live’ our values and beliefs as we do advance care planning with our loved ones and our health care proxy, we retain or regain the control that so many in our society have felt can only be regained by desperate and/or tragic measures.”