Elder Mediation Center Members Present Workshop on Bioethical Decision-Making at the National Association of Social Workers Annual Conference in Atlantic City on May 6, 2008

Members of the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey will present an informative workshop entitled “Bioethical Decision-Making: Conflict Resolution in Health Care” at the annual conference of the National Association of Social workers (NASW) to be held at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City from May 4-6, 2008. Social Workers will earn 4 continuing education credits by attending the workshop.

This workshop is based on the recognition that, because the American health care system has grown increasingly complex, conflicts among health care professionals, patients, families and payors have grown in frequency, particularly involving decisions about end-of-life care.

In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, social workers often face clients, families and other professionals who must make difficult decisions regarding the care and treatment of elder family members who lack the capacity to make treatment decisions themselves. These surrogate decision-makers, as well as other family members, though well-meaning, are often ill-equipped, lacking the training, experience or temperment for the task. Emotions are often high, and conflict often results. Mediating the resulting disputes and reaching resolution in a timely manner is critical. Although there is a growing public awareness of the need for advance planning, there is also a growing controversy about the benefits of the planning documents, such as a living will. In this workshop, participants discuss the need for advance planning to assist the designated decision-maker who is faced with choices regarding health care and treatment, mediating the conflict that often results when these sensitive decisions must be made, and other related topics.

The new field of bioethical mediation will be discussed. The principles underlying bioethics can be a useful guide to the resolution of difficult medical and end-of-life decisions. Bioethical mediation seeks to embrace the interests of all participants in the decision-making process and assures that decisions are based on respect for the rights of the elder patient. This workshop will provide a framework for understanding how mediation can be used effectively to resolve conflicts that arise in health care settings.

The Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey (EMCNJ) is a collaborative alliance comprised of independent mediators, attorneys, geriatric care managers and other eldercare professionals. It provides efficient, knowledgeable, affordable alternate dispute resolution services designed to resolve the conflicts of elders, individuals living with disabilities and their families. The founding members of the EMCNJ are Attorney/Mediators Anthony Serra, Nina Weiss and Donald D. Vanarelli, and Geriatric Care Manager Marcie Cooper.

To learn more about the workshop, call the NASW, or the Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey at 908-232-7755 or toll free at 888-609-6565. You may also visit our website at The Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey.