June 13, 2019

Dear CTEOL Member,

The Coalition is celebrating 20 years as a nonprofit volunteer organization that strives to promote compassionate care for all people touched by life threatening illness. Throughout the past 20 years, CTEOL has provided forums to enhance education and raise awareness of palliative and end-of-life care for CT citizens and healthcare providers. I invite you to read below to see how we continue to support the Coalition’s mission and vision, and to learn what was accomplished this past year.

In October 2018, CTEOL members were invited to attend the viewing of “Defining Hope,” a documentary in which patients with life-threatening illness make choices about their end-of-life care. Afterwards, the audience had an opportunity to discuss the film with a panel of palliative care experts, along with filmmaker, Carolyn Jones.

Because the CTEOL promotes palliative care education for all ages, in November of 2018, we assisted the Department of Public Health and CT Children’s Medical Center to offer a fourth health care provider workshop aimed to enhance education concerning our pediatric patient population. Over 100 participants gathered at Central CT State University for a dynamic full day program, which included diverse interdisciplinary presentations. Topics included the role of palliative care in pediatrics, provider self care, child development, massage therapy for self-care and wellness, pain and symptom management, aromatherapy, communication skills, and parental bereavement discussions.

In January of 2019, CTEOL held our Annual luncheon and awards ceremony. Christine Denhup, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nursing, from Southern Connecticut University shared her research concerning bereaved parents of pediatric patients. Dr. Denhup guided the audience in how to minimize parental suffering, during the journey toward healing. In addition, the Coalition presented three awards to community members who strive to improve palliative care for citizens of CT. With gratitude, we acknowledged the following recipients:

West Haven Medical Group: Safe Passage Award for Outstanding Clinical Care
Aspire Healthcare Agency: Safe Passage Award for Outstanding Clinical Care
Cathy Ludlum, BA: Excellence in Achievement for Public Service In End-of-Life Care
In March of this year, Bernadette Welsh, host of Community Works on New Haven Television interviewed two of our CTEOL Board Members: Cynthia O’Sullivan and Cynthia Lamont. I encourage you to view the interview about palliative and end-of-life care, presented by our Coalition colleagues:

Additionally, in March, the CTEOL provided a dynamic full-day interdisciplinary conference, conference entitled, "Spiritual and Cultural Dimensions of Palliative and End-of-Life Care." The conference included a keynote address by Dr. Christina Puchalski: “Responding to Spiritual Distress: The Art of Presence.” Other presentations included the following:

Lisa Caramico, MD shared her journey caring for her husband who lived with a terminal illness in her presentation, “18 Months and Beyond.”

Mark Lazenby, PhD, APRN, FAAN explored how nursing practice addresses some of life’s biggest questions in “The Existential Plight of Cancer: Its Spiritual Dimensions.”

Kevin Toolis described how communities across the globe dealt with death before the rise of the Western Death Machine in his panel, “My Father’s Wake: How the Irish teach us to Live, Love & Die."

Actress Judith Gantly performed a one-woman play entitled, “Waltzing the Reaper," which creatively illustrates through various characters different approaches to understanding the end-of-life process.

At this time, CTEOL is in the planning stages of upcoming educational offerings, such as discussing the Conversation Project for the New Haven Area Senior Network on: July 17, from 8am to 10am, at the Hamden Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, in Hamden CT. In addition, the Coalition is in the midst of developing a strategic plan for the future, and we need your help. This organization desires to create a vision that will further enhance the quality of life and support CT citizens living with life threatening illness, and their families. We aspire to be cutting edge leaders in palliative care and end-of-life care education for our state, and we value your insights.

In the meantime, please renew your membership today, at: https://www.ctendoflifecare.org/join-us.html and consider participating on one of our committees: the Education Committee, Annual Meeting Committee, or Strategic Planning Committee. CTEOL also invites you to circulate this letter to your colleagues, who may be interested in becoming a new member of our critically important organization. Please continue to check our website throughout the year at: https://www.ctendoflifecare.org for updates regarding CTEOL’s important initiatives and programs for the coming year.

Lastly, we invite you to tell us more about the work you are doing, so that we may spotlight your background via THE CTEOL NEWLSETTER. Please see our spring newsletter for a visual display of our work efforts, and to meet our featured CTEOL member, under the spot light: Bernadette DiGiulian, MDIV. See: https://spark.adobe.com/page/RgyCBNW2g1UUP/

Warm regards,


President, Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care (CTEOL)

A Message from our President