In collaboration with the Dioceses of Trenton and Camden, Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice will present its annual pastoral care workshop on end-of-life issues Feb. 15 from 5 – 9 p.m. in the dining hall of St. Paul School, 250 James St., Burlington.
Titled “Addressing Pain and Suffering: A Catholic Approach to Palliative and Hospice Care,” the program is presented by Via Lucis, the Samaritan Ministry for Catholic patients and families. The event is open to healthcare practitioners, chaplains, priests and religious, deacons and their wives, lay ecclesial ministers, parish volunteers, lay ministers and parishioners, and is co-sponsored by Samaritan and both dioceses.
Deacon John Bertagnolli, D.O., of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, will be keynote speaker. He will explore how palliative care, a specialty of advanced medical care, can provide pain relief as well as emotional, spiritual and social support for patients and their families. Deacon Bertagnolli will reference a recent report – published by a group of physicians and healthcare experts working with the Vatican-based Pontifical Academy for Life, which called for global promotion of palliative care. Additionally he will explore the Catholic perspective on what palliative care is, what it’s not, how it compares to hospice care and how the benefits provide a better quality of life throughout the course of illness.
An interdisciplinary panel discussion will follow Deacon Bertagnolli’s presentation, which will include a nurse, social worker and chaplain trained in palliative and hospice care: Marge McGinley, panel facilitator, Virtua Chaplain and Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Chair of Formation; Colleen Fritsch, MSW, LCSW, Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice social worker; John Posniewski, RN, Samaritan Nurse Liaison and Chaplain Betty Warner, Samaritan Spiritual Support Counselor. The group will share information and stories about the way their professions help families ease the physical, social, emotional and spiritual stresses of serious illness.
With more than 35 years of family medicine experience, Deacon Bertagnolli serves as a hospice physician overseeing inter-disciplinary teams and patient care. Board-certified in in family medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians, he also completed the Added Qualifications in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Deacon Bertagnolli has spent years teaching, mentoring and volunteering in his community, including as a volunteer physician for the Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica, and assistant Scout master and advisory committee chair for a local Boy Scouts club.
Deacon Bertagnolli received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, Camden, and his medical degree from the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford. He was named a South Jersey Magazine Best Physician in the family medicine category more than five years in a row.
Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian, independent organization founded in Moorestown in 1980, and is the regional leader for hospice care, palliative medicine, grief support and counseling. Its Via Lucis ministry, offered through the Samaritan Ministry for Catholic Patients and Families, provides “a way to Christ’s light” for Catholic families it serves, and is shepherded by a team of religious and lay members of area parishes and the dioceses of Camden and Trenton.
Pre-registration is $15, $20 at the door, which includes a light dinner. Participants can register online at https://samaritan-addressing-pain.eventbrite.com; there is a $1.78 processing fee. For more information, contact Christine Corti, 856-552-3258, ccorti@SamaritanNJ.org.