2017 AHC/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo

Living Well, Dying Well: A Pilot Study in Empowering Communication in End of Life

Wednesday, October 18
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Lagoon A&B
CE: Nurses: 1.5 | NAB: 1.5

Communication about end-of-life care goals and planning remains one of the hardest aspects for health care professionals as they care for both individuals and their families. As an individual’s health declines, a lack of clarity regarding choices, wants, and needs, as well as goals of care and therapeutic decisions, can result in stress, confusion, and burnout for both employees and families. This may lead to unwanted hospitalizations, tests, and procedures. Quality, satisfaction, and costs all suffer in end-of-life care due to poor communication. “Living Well, Dying Well” (LWDW) is a communications model that empowers effective communication in end-of-life care between residents, families, and health care professionals. More than health care directives and POLST forms, LWDW is both a process and a set of resources to support and document resident-centered decision-making for goals of care and planning, driving care choices and settings.

Beginning in 2016, LWDW entered a pilot study with Tealwood Senior Living to test the model’s process and resources in rural, suburban, and urban centers across diverse care settings, including assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care. The goals of the LWDW Tealwood pilot are to improve resident quality of life and utilization in end-of-life care, while increasing communication among residents, families, and employees. Gail Sheridan and Frank Bennett will offer insights and perspective on the LWDW process and resources for introducing, encouraging, and documenting resident-centered communication for effective end-of-life care, as well as provide an update on pilot study progress and data. This presentation will cover the assessments and interventions developed by LWDW for Tealwood, including documenting individual goals of care, clarifying health prognosis, inter-professional communication, and family conflict resolution in end-of-life care planning.

Learning Objectives:

Gail Sheridan

Chief Clinical Operations Officer
Tealwood Senior Living

Ms. Sheridan, RN, is the Chief Clinical Operations Officer and a principal of Tealwood Senior Living since 1989. She is an experienced nurse specializing in Geriatric Nursing and serves over 40 Skilled and Assisted Living communities in five states. Ms. Sheridan is responsible for Clinical Care Systems/Quality Improvement, Regulatory Compliance, Human Resources and shares responsibility for the Workers Compensation Loss Control Services program and Risk Management. Ms. Sheridan is actively involved in Care Providers of Minnesota serving on the Board of Directors, Chair of the Quality Committee and past Chair of the Board of Directors. In addition she is a member of the Survey/ Regulatory Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee for the American Health Care Association. Ms. Sheridan also serves on the National Center for Assisted Living Board of Directors. She works with several governmental agencies in the continuing effort to assure efficient and effective regulatory processes and quality improvement.


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Frank B. Bennett

Senior Fellow
University of Minnesota

Frank Bennett is the founder and program leader of the Living Well/ Dying Well initiative and a senior teaching fellow at the Center For Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. After years of working with care professionals and individuals living with serious or chronic illnesses, Frank created the Living Well, Dying Well model which incorporates communication tools and processes to improve care outcomes and quality of life for individuals in assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care facilities. The Living Well, Dying Well initiative incorporates academic courses for graduate students, professional development courses, community education and research/evaluation in the field of communication in end of life care.

As an educator, facilitator, and spiritual care professional, Frank brings his deep knowledge of the unique physical, emotional, mental and spiritual challenges and opportunities at the end of life. Frank is dedicated to the goal of empowering patient-centered decisions making, so individuals might live as well as possible until they die well as well as possible. Frank’s experience as a spiritual care professional has included acute, palliative and hospice care settings. Frank has a special focus on spiritual care and support for those living memory loss from Alzheimer’s and dementia, their families and care providers. As a non-denominational spiritual care professional, Frank is committed to providing humane care for each person, regardless of their culture or beliefs.

Frank’s undergraduate education and initial career in education and curriculum development informs his approach to comprehensive, measurable education in Living Well, Dying Well for professionals, individuals and their families. He also draws on his 20 years of experience and expertise as an entrepreneur and venture capital in the healthcare industry to use communication and organizational leadership principles and tools to support the ongoing work to establish and develop Living Well, Dying Well as a sustainable model for senior care organizations. Frank’s experience and training in clinical pastoral care education and whole person care in hospice and palliative care is the foundation of Living Well, Dying Well’s model. Since 2006 Frank has been a chaplain, and advanced healthcare directive facilitator. Frank completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) with Allina Health and earned his Masters of Divinity in 2010 with an emphasis on pastoral care and community-based chaplaincy from United Theological Seminary.


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Living Well, Dying Well: A Pilot Study in Empowering Communication in End of Life


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