On March 4, 2017, the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, in partnership with the Catholic Medical Guilds of Wisconsin, held the "Dignity at the End of Life: From Suffering to Hope" Conference in Fitchburg, Wisconsin (near Madison). The conference was a great success and feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
Julie Grimstad shared excellent information about patient advocacy, advance directives for healthcare, and POLST(Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment), as well as life-threatening issues facing patients in various healthcare settings. She also encouraged attendees to initiate a Befrienders group--a volunteer effort to ease loneliness among the elderly--in one's church or community. Conference attendees commented on how useful and informative Julie's presentation was.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, expert in Perinatology, a branch of obstetrics concerned with the care of mother and fetus and the handling of high-risk pregnancies, spoke about perinatal hospice. Perinatal hospice is part of the care for a baby with a prenatal diagnosis of a terminal condition. Dr. Calhoun offered a model of compassion and true caring for mother and child as opposed to the more common solution offered--abortion. The primary focus of perinatal hospice is on the family--not the baby's diagnosis. The family is placed in the center of the care and there is a continuum of support from diagnosis, through the child's death and the family's grieving process.
Cristen M. Krebs, DNP, ANP-BC, Catholic Hospice Founder/Executive Director, with twenty years of end-of-life care experience, illuminated the history and current trends in hospice. Attendees appreciated her humor and expertise as she shared a wealth of information about palliative care and hospice.
Ed and Nan Weber, founders of Holy Family Ministry and Loreto on the Plains Personal Care Home, an outreach of that ministry, shared how they were inspired by God to build and manage Loreto on the Plains. Loreto is a loving home for the sick and dying elderly. Ed and Nan explained how residents of Loreto are treated as valued members of a family, as indispensable lives worthy of the time, money and materials needed for them to live in comfort, protected from harm. It is Nan and Ed's hope that others will hear about Loreto on the Plains and be inspired to care for the sick and aged in their own homes or start care homes in their communities.
Ramon Luzarraga, Catholic Moral Theologian, spoke to the meaning in suffering. The conference concluded after his powerful and beautiful presentation, which left attendees with rich content for deep reflection.
Conference videos will be announced when available. For more information about the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, visit their webpage here https://www.prolifehealthcare.org
“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup