Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium will host a free caregiver Continuing Education online seminar on Thursday, Nov. 12, to commemorate National Family Caregivers Month. The topic of the 2020 Living with Grief® program is Intimacy and Sexuality During Illness and Loss. The virtual program will run from 10 a.m. to noon.
The annual Living with Grief program® is presented by the Hospice Foundation of America. The 2020 subject identifies barriers to intimacy and sexuality for terminally-ill people and their partners. The program will emphasize the knowledge and skills that professionals must have to sensitively address intimacy and sexuality and suggest interventions that can help dying and bereaved persons address these elemental human needs.
The program’s companion book, “Intimacy and Sexuality During Illness and Loss,” is edited by Kenneth J. Doka and Amy S. Tucci.
“Often, we don’t talk about the things that really matter, because we feel we’re intruding on private matters,” said Doka, also a presenter in the program video. “We’re hardwired for intimacy as human beings and we’re sexual creatures. There’s some anxiety and embarrassment around these subjects because we’re intruding on private matters. … The key is talking to someone without embarrassment.”
Holistic treatment of individuals who are terminally ill or bereaved should include the needs of the whole person. Yet the most basic of human desires, those that include intimate and sexual relationships, are frequently avoided, dismissed, or unaddressed by healthcare, social service, clergy and bereavement professionals. Patients, family caregivers, and clients can be inhibited by the deeply personal nature of intimacy and sexuality and often do not raise concerns with professionals.
This is a timely subject matter for professionals working with the growing number of older adults. About 10,000 Americans in the U.S. turn 65 every day. By 2040, Medicare is expected to include 80 million people.
At the conclusion of the online event, participants will be able to:
- Define and contrast intimacy and sexuality, and describe how these needs may affect the care and well-being of dying and bereaved individuals.
- Describe barriers to meeting the needs of intimacy and the sexual desires of individuals who are coping with life-threatening illness.
- Discuss sensitivities, skills and knowledge that end-of-life professionals should possess to use appropriate interventions that address the intimacy and sexual needs of dying persons.
- Describe the intimacy and sexual needs of individuals who are bereaved, and identify barriers that inhibit opportunities to address such needs.
- Discuss sensitivities, skills and knowledge that end-of-life professionals should employ when addressing issues of intimacy and sexuality with bereaved individuals.
- Identify the ethical issues healthcare professionals must recognize when helping clients and patients meet intimate and sexual needs.
- Discuss how barriers to intimacy can be overcome in the midst of a public health crisis that restricts visits and contact with family and friends at the end of life.
- Identify three ways that grief is increased when intimate contact near death or during the dying process is prohibited and when death rituals such as memorials and funerals are delayed.
- Discuss counseling interventions to support these grievers.
As in past years, Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium will cover the cost of the program and the two Continuing Education credits for attendees. The credits will be available online directly through the HFA after the program.