SC 43350. Introduction to Hospice and Palliative Care

Intro to Hospice and Palliative Care

Course Description


This one credit satisfactory/ unsatisfactory graded course will meet on 4 Friday dates from 2 to 5 p.m. on each of the following dates - March 20, March 27, April 3, April 17.  In order to pass the course, students must attend all 4 sessions, complete a written paper and an online self-study component of several readings and films.  The course is designed to provide undergraduate preprofessional students with an introductory understanding of palliative and hospice care.  This course will be of interest for undergraduates interested in careers in medicine, but may also be useful to students aspiring to other helping professions.   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, “Being Mortal” 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 Center for Hospice Care: History of Hospice
  • Dr. Lyle Fettig, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine IU School of Medicine Indianapolis
  • Sue Morgan, RN, BS, MS, Director of Nursing: Understanding the Hospice Model of Care
  • Terri Lawton, RN, BA, CHPN, Patient Care Coordinator: The Hospice Nurse as Care Coordinator
  • Dave Labrum, LMAC: Alternative Grief Support Strategies
  • Holly Farmer, MS, LCSW, LMFT, Bereavement Coordinator: The Grieving Process, Interdisciplinary Team
  • Rachel Rose, RN, Perinatal Suppport Services Coordinator, Perinatal Grief
  • Karen Lance, LCSW, Social Work Coordinator: Interdisciplinary Team
  • Larry Rice, MA, MDiv, Chaplain: Interdisciplinary Team
  • Mike Wargo, COO, Hospice Foundation
  • Cyndy Searfoss, MA, Director of Education and Collaborative Partnerships, Hospice Foundation
  • Kristiana Donahue, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator: Community Support & the Value of Volunteers in Hospice Care
  • Greg Giffford MD, JD, AMBS: The Physician & Nurse Practitioner's Role in Hospice and Palliative Care; Interdisciplinary Team

Date: SPRING 2020 Class: The class will meet on 4 Friday dates from 2 to 5 p.m. on each of those dates.  March 20, March 27, April 3, April 17 along with a student self-study component (i.e. viewing several films, readings available online).   

Number of students:  Maximum of 250 students

Location:  Jordan Hall of Science (room number TBA)

Assignments: 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 post-test to evaluate knowledge of the course content. The self-study component involves several readings and films that can be completed online.