National Hospice Conference Opens with Focus on Bereavement and Presentation of Distinguished Researcher Award

Nov 05, 2012, 08:30 ET from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Therese Rando delivers opening plenary presentation and Holly Prigerson receives NHPCO Distinguished Researcher Award

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Grief and bereavement support is one beneficial, integral, and valued aspect of care that makes hospice palliative care different from conventional medical care. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization opened its 13th annual Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive with a focus on trauma, grief, and bereavement.

(Photo: )
(Logo: )

More than 1,200 professionals gathered for this annual conference hosted at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, that featured Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., BCETS, BCBT, as the opening plenary speaker. Rando is Clinical Director of The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss and her presentation focused on identifying and treating traumatic stress at the end-of-life.

In working with patients and families nearing the end of life, hospice and palliative care professionals focus on physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs within a framework of loss. In her work, Rando has broadened this framework to look at the traumatic stress that is inherently involved in life-limiting illness.

The ability of hospice and palliative professionals to understand these aspects of loss and how to support people can greatly improve the end-of-life experience for patients and families.

Distinguished Researcher Award
Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D., was presented with the NHPCO Distinguished Researcher Award by NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, at the opening of the conference.

The Distinguished Researcher Award was created to recognize an outstanding body of research that has contributed to the enhancement of hospice and palliative care.

Prigerson is an internationally known researcher for her work on bereavement and end-of-life care. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Much of Prigerson's research has been on psychosocial factors that influence the quality of life and care received by terminally ill patients, and factors influencing family caregivers both before and after the death of a loved one.   

"Dr. Prigerson has done so much to help providers understand aspects of bereavement that will ultimately help many patients and families who will benefit immensely from her work and the knowledge she has shared," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "One of the most important things we can do is shine a light on individuals in this field who are advancing the field of  hospice and palliative care."

Understanding Grief
People generally understand that grief is a response following the death of a loved one that affects people in many ways.  Grief is also experienced throughout the course of an illness as a patient and family faces the changes and losses that accompany serious or life-limiting illness.

"The bereavement services that hospices provide help those they care for understand and cope with the experience of grief and loss that is unique to every individual," noted Schumacher. "We all grieve but no two people grieve in exactly the same way. That's why we are focusing on grief during the opening of our clinical team conference."

Conference participants will have the opportunity to hear from other bereavement professionals throughout the conference during concurrent sessions and networking opportunities.

More information about hospice and coping with grief are available from NHPCO's Caring Connections at

Jon Radulovic
NHPCO Vice President of Communications
Ph: 703-837-3139


SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization