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Continuing Education: Final Days of Life – The Social Worker’s Role

Saturday, April 24
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Taught by Jennifer Halpern, Ph.D., LCSW, APHSW-C, this class will review the symptoms of pre-active and active dying and how to help the family at the bedside manage these. We’ll consider what people who are dying want and fear, and how these concerns may change over the course of their dying. We’ll explore how decision-making and communication affect the patient’s dying experience, including considering how hope and a poor prognosis interact. Participants will be invited to share their personal and professional introductions to death. We will also consider our strengths and weaknesses as advocates. Finally, we will practice some easy exercises to help ourselves remain grounded despite the whirlwind of emotions around us.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of four continuing education hours.

About the Instructor
Jennifer Halpern is a senior medical and certified palliative social worker based at the Oncology Support Program (OSP) of the Westchester Medical Center Network/Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley. Halpern supports both inpatients and outpatients. She is the psychosocial coordinator for the hospital’s Cancer Committee and is the chair of the Ethics Committee. Recently, Halpern has coordinated and directed the study guide for the APHSW certification exam as the Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network’s (SWHPN) educational consultant. Halpern received her doctorate in social psychology/organizational behavior from University of California, Berkeley. As an assistant professor at Cornell University, she taught both undergraduates and professionals.

Halpern’s publications focus on communication, negotiation, and decision-making. She authored two chapters in—and co-edited—Debating Rationality: Nonrational Aspects of Organizational Decision Making (Frank W. Pierce Memorial Lectureship and Conference Series, ILR Press). She has volunteered, been a social work intern for, and provided business consulting services for Hospicare of Tompkins County. A move to the Hudson Valley led to her current position with the OSP, a community-oriented program that just celebrated its 25th anniversary.


This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.