Panel discussion to explore end-of-life issues

The medical, legal, and faith communities will come together to examine issues around end-of-life care and decisions during a special community event on Oct. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke. “End-of-Life: A Community Conversation” will provide a forum for viewpoints from health care providers, clergy, caregivers, and attorneys. Karen McNew, anchor and health team leader at WSLS 10 in Roanoke, will moderate the session.

Sponsored by Carilion Clinic Hospice and Good Samaritan Hospice, the event will cover a range of topics, including an overview of hospice and palliative care, advance directives, and the discomfort of family discussions about final arrangements. The event will incorporate an interactive feature that will enable audience members to answer questions and see immediate response tallies.

“The opportunity to get the faith community and the medical community together around the topic of end-of-life decisions is huge,” said Dr. Aubrey Knight, director of the Carilion Clinic–Virginia Tech Carilion Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship, associate dean for student affairs at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and a panelist for the event. “This is a unique opportunity to dispel some of the myths about palliative care and hospice.”

Other panelists include Dr. David Trinkle, a geriatric psychiatrist at Carilion Clinic’s Center for Healthy Aging and the associate dean of community and culture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; Kathy Stockburger, board president for Good Samaritan Hospice; Nathan Kottcamp, founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day and a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond; and The Rev. Amy Christine Ziglar, pastor of Mount Zion AME Church in Roanoke.

Breakout sessions with each panelist will follow the moderated discussion.

“It’s normal for people to feel uncomfortable and to want to avoid the topic of end-of-life care,” Trinkle said. “But we’re hoping this event will help people go home and get the conversation at least started among their family members and other loved ones.”

The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by the panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in any lot around the Jefferson Center except in the Cotton Mill lot on the corner of Luck Avenue and Sixth Street. Handicap parking and a drop-off point with ramp access are available at the center’s Luck Avenue entrance.

Written by Catherine Doss