As the new year approaches, I thought that it was time to catch you up on what I’ve been doing in 2018 and why you haven’t seen me here.
My “bioethics time” is currently unfunded, so I do what I can to spread the word about why bioethics resources are needed in post-acute care — not just in nursing homes, but in all areas of health care that exist outside of a hospital. This time is somewhat limited as I practice law for a living. However, I am gratified that in my law practice I have had the opportunity to take on work that is on the cusp of both bioethics and law such as informed consent, access to care, end of life issues, and mediation of family conflicts in these and other areas.
This year has been one of many public speaking opportunities. One of the places I have been privileged so speak on bioethics has been UCLA, where I have given guest lectures to enthusiastic nursing students over this past year. I always come away from these with a feeling of excitement and hope for the future of the nursing profession. One of the things that I dream will be possible in the future is a full semester class on law and ethics for nurses. At present, these topics are integrated into other nursing courses; this is a great start and I am privileged to have been asked to participate in some of these.
I have also ventured outside of California to talk about ethics in long term care. Last September I presented on this topic at the 19th International Nursing Ethics Conference in Cork, Ireland. I was introduced to this conference by Dr. Ann Gallagher while she was here in the US on a Fullbright scholarship. She is currently a Professor of Ethics and Care at the University of Surrey in England. Additionally, she is the Director of the International Care Ethics Observatory. One of the Observatory’s projects is The RIPE Project which fouses upon “Researching Interventions to Promote Ethics in Social Care”. One of these interventions is to have caregivers participate in an immersive experience of becoming a “patient” for an overnight stay. You can find out more about that project, and Professor Gallagher, here: The RIPE Project; Professor Ann Gallagher.
Back here in the U.S. I was pleased to co-present on “Importance of Bioethics for Post-Acute Care: Compliance and Risk Management Benefits” with Dr. Thaddeus Pope, an internationally regarded law professor/bioethicist at the American Health Lawyer’s Association conference in New Orleans. Then, at the Society for Post-Acute and Long Term Care Medicine national conference in Texas, Dr. Karl Steinberg and I presented “Advancing Resident-Centered Care in Long-Term Care Facilities: The Value of Ethics Committees and Resources.”
Finally, I had the opportunity to present on a panel at the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities with Dr. Steinberg, Dr. Pope as well as Liz Stokes, a nurse/attorney/ethicist who is currently the Director of the American Nurses Association Center for Ethics and Human Rights. Our topic this time was “Ethics Committees Are Not Just for Hospitals: Advancing Person-Centered Care in Long-Term Care Facilities.” I had some trepidation about this one because we were scheduled to present at the very last session of the conference which many folks from the east coast would need to skip in order to make their flights home (the conference was in Anaheim). However, while we didn’t have a full house, we had more participants that I would have expected and the audience was very much engaged in our topic! Many stuck around after the presentation to express their support for what we are advocating and I was certainly gratified encouraged by the reception we received.
Yes, I know that this is long winded after being away for so long, but it is incentive to keep up this blog more frequently in the coming year. It was also important to me to credit the others who were with me on this journey of advocacy for bioethics in post-acute care. So, thanks for reading and I’ll have more coming soon!