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End of Life Issues: Managing Dying, Death & Beyond

9 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $99.00

Developed by Tom Smith, Ph.D.

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

The purpose of this comprehensive, advanced level course is to provide an overview of End-of-Life issues, including the process of facing death, palliative and hospice care, the needs and responsibilities of caregivers, grief and bereavement, the moral and ethical challenges of suffering near the end of life and finally, spiritual considerations. It brings together all the information you or your clients may need in one place. In this course, medical professionals, artists and humanists discuss their thoughts on what it is like to face death in the 21st Century, considering technology and medicine, expectations at the end of life and how death is empirically out of reach. Palliative and hospice care are defined. Practical suggestions for caring for the dying are offered. Professional caregiver issues are reviewed. Moral and ethical decisions regarding euthanasia and assisted suicide are addressed. Agnostic, Catholic and Tibetan Buddhist spiritual views on death are presented

The course has 8 sections: Introduction and overview; facing death; palliative and hospice care; caregivers' needs and responsibilities; defining grief and bereavement; culturally diverse communities and end of life care; moral and ethical considerations that address euthanasia and assisted suicide; and finally, spiritual considerations. Included in these sections are a vast variety of articles that provide a broad spectrum of ideas and opinions regarding end of life issues. Videos featuring the mother of Karen Ann Quinlan and the husband of Terry Schiavo are reviewed in the section covering Moral and Ethical Considerations. The course is liberally referenced for further study and many Internet links are provided to keep the professional current and up-to-date. Finally, the course provides a Mental Health Advance Directive which is intended to help clients be secure that their mental health records will stay private and confidential after their deaths.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    Appraise their own intellectual and emotional issues regarding their own death and that of another.>

2.    Describe the many ways we die and the needs of the aging population as they approach death.>

3.    Describe how palliative and hospice care are a philosophy and an organized, structured, practical system for delivering care.>

4.    Identify the essential and practical elements of palliative and hospice care.>

5.    Identify the responsibilities and needs of caregivers.>

6.    Outline the course of grief and bereavement and its complications.>

7.    Explain how dying, death, grief and bereavement are different from culture to culture.>

8.    Outline and discuss the debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide.>

9.    Identify Agnostic, Catholic and Tibetan Buddhist spiritual concerns around dying and death.>

Course Syllabus

Introduction and Overview

The Difference: Conversations On Death and Dying

Talking with and Listening to the Terminally Ill Speak about Dying

Getting Old and Preparing For The End Of Life

  • Getting Old and Historical Changes Affecting End-of-Life Care
  • What are the Mental Health Needs of Older Adults Near the End of Life?

How We Die: Natural Death, Accidents, Suicide, Homicide, Aids and Other Diseases, Multiple Deaths, Miscarriage, Stillborn, Abortion, War, Terrorism, Execution

  • The Natural Dying Process
  • Active and Passive Death Process Interventions
  • Stigmatic Death

Palliative Care and Hospice

  • Curative, Palliative and Hospice Care: Definitions and Differences
  • Hospice: End-of-Life Basic Questions and Answers
  • Resources in Spanish

Practical Hospice Care at Home: Palliative to Hospice to Palliative Care

For and About Caregivers

  • Advanced Directives and Living Wills
  • Caregivers and Counselors: Their Value, Training and Personal Issues
  • Issues for the Therapist to Consider When Exploring End-of-Life Decisions

Bereavement and Grief

  • Overview and Definitions
  • Children and Grief
  • The Value of Online Support Groups

Cross-Cultural Issues

  • Culturally Diverse Communities and End-of-Life Care
  • Diversity Issues in End-of-Life Decision-Making
  • Chinese American Customs of Death and Dying and Bereavement

Moral and Ethical Considerations

  • Basic Terms
  • Arguments FOR and AGAINST Assisted Suicide
  • Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide & Health Care Decisions: Protecting Yourself and Your Family
  • The Legacy of the Terri Schiavo Case: Why is it so hard to die in America?

Spiritual Considerations

  • Comforting Thoughts about Death that Have Nothing to Do with God
  • A Catholic View: The Illinois Bishops on Death and Dying
  • A Buddhist View


  • Reporting Requirements of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
  • The Oregon Death with Dignity Act: Oregon Revised Statutes
  • FAQ about the Death With Dignity Act


Advance Directive to Protect Mental Health Information

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