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GVSU Offers New Program For Hospice & Palliative Care

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Grand Valley State University is addressing the increasing need for hospice and palliative care in West Michigan.  This fall, a new certificate course is being offered that could help those who deal with “end-of-life” care. 

“There was a national release called ‘dying in America’ , which really told us that across the country there was an enormous need for improved care at end of life and symptom management of life limiting illness.”

That report was one factor that prompted a collaborative effort for West Michigan care givers and others to address the growing need for hospice and palliative care in our community.  Karen Burritt is the interim associate dean for graduate programs at the Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University.  She says all aspects of patient care were looked at to help establish the certificate program for palliative care.

“Taking the knowledge that people have in their professions regarding hospice and palliative care and adding a level of complexity and sophisitication to it and bringing people together of that inter-professional umbrella.”

Karen says the program is designed for those who work with patients and families facing life limiting health conditions, terminal illness and death.  She says one of the biggest issues it will cover is communication between caregivers, which can be crucial.

“We hear over and over in these situations where people have these kind of illnesses that one of the hardest things is how to navigate the health care system, so if health care profess communicate better,  it can improve it that way. Secondly, having knowledge in symptom management decreases the burden of suffering of these kinds of illnesses as well.”

Burritt says they are still taking applications for the fall course. 

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.