Introduction to Hospice and Palliative Care

Intro to Hospice and Palliative Care

Course Description

This one-credit pass/fail course is designed to provide undergraduate preprofessional students with an introductory understanding of palliative and hospice care.  It is designed specifically for undergraduates interested in careers in healthcare, but can also be useful to students aspiring to work in other helping professions.  This course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of palliative and hospice care, focusing on how this care is given in the current healthcare system.  Hospice administrators, physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual care staff, and bereavement therapists are the faculty for the course. Students will also be given an introduction in compassionate interpersonal communication skills, which are needed in caring for people who are in need of palliative care and for people who are dying.  A number of films will be used including the Frontline documentaries, “Facing Death” and “Okuyamba.”  Offered every three semesters.


Dominic O. Vachon M.Div., Ph.D., director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine and professor of the practice at the University of Notre Dame, will be the Notre Dame faculty member coordinating the course along with experts at the Center for Hospice Care and IU Goshen Center for Cancer Care. 

Other faculty and subject area for the day:

  • Mark Murray, President and CEO: History of Hospice
  • Donna Tiemann R.N., Dir. of Nursing: Nursing in Hospice
  • Gail Wind R.N., Assistant Director of Nursing: Nursing in Hospice
  • Dave Labrum, LMAC: Grieving Process, Art Therapy
  • Michele Guldberg, CHC: Bereavement
  • Chuck Kreps-Long, MSW, LSW: Social Work and the Hospice Family
  • Marge Braden: M.Div., Spiritual Care
  • Mike Wargo, COO: Hospice Care in Uganda
  • Valorie Eads:  Volunteers and Hospice
  • Greg Giffford M.D., J.D., AMBS: Palliative Medicine
  • Amber Berger M.D., AMBS: Palliative Medicine
  • Daniel Bruetman M.D., Director of Medical Oncology at IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer Care: Physician Collaboration with Hospice Care

Date:  Saturday, November 1, 2014, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a three-hour self-study student component (i.e. viewing several films online) done by November 30, 2014.  

Number of students:  Maximum of 250 students

Location:  105 Jordan Hall of Science

Assignments:  Attendance at the day-long class is mandatory. Three to five page paper to include a summary of hospice and palliative care, reflections on what the students gained from the course, and how this relates to their future careers.  There will be a pre-test and a post-test for the day class. Self-study component involve several readings and films that can be completed online.

Meals:  We will be providing lunch on-site to conserve time.  No charge.