Cynthia O'Sullivan, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
(“Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson)
Dear Members and Friends of the Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care,
While it is little more than two months since our last newsletter, it feels like much has transpired; we have experienced both tragic events and those that have sparked hope. COVID-19 infections continue to embroil our health care system, but yet, we are optimistic about the availability of several excellent vaccines. Sadly, our country has been besieged by political divisiveness that became even more volatile around the time of the November election, and ultimately degenerated into violent protests in the sacred halls of the U.S. Capitol. In spite of this, (or perhaps because of it), Americans are increasingly calling for peace and healing as we recognize the importance of listening, reconciling, and rebuilding. Many of us, as well as our neighbors and friends, have suffered critical losses--financially, occupationally, and in our personal relationships. As an organization made up of individuals, we feel these stressors; I also feel very fortunate to be associated with a group of people with the power to heal through our capacity to offer hope, compassion, and support during challenging times. Thank you for your good work and for your care and commitment to assist those in need.
This season’s newsletter is dedicated to the gift of hope that comes with the promise of a new year. Dr. Jennifer Kapo is highlighted in our Member Spotlight. Dr. Kapo, in her role as The Sherwin B. Nuland and Michael K. Vlock Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and Chief of Palliative Care Service at Yale-New Haven Hospital has dedicated much of her work to leading efforts aimed at providing hope to patients, families, and professional caregivers. She embodies the importance of inter-professional collaboration, prioritizing patient comfort, and accurate, compassionate information to families and loved ones despite visitation limits required during the pandemic. Supporting the staff’s emotional health as they continue to face challenges in caring for patients with COVID and other life-limiting illness is an ongoing priority for Dr. Kapo’s team.
The newsletter also offers a new section titled, Palliative Care Policy News, penned by Suzanne Marmo. Having knowledge of policy developments and the opportunity to impact change are not only good for society, but can inspire hope among caregivers and patients who are hindered from achieving optimal care due to legal and regulatory restrictions. Once again, affirming the important work of those who care for patients and families at end of life can provide them the hope and inspiration they need to continue their work, even during the most difficult times.
Additionally, The Connecticut Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 27, 2021, from 8:30am – 9:30am as a virtual meeting. We hope you all will attend; please feel free to invite colleagues you may know who would be interested in coming. Dr. Kapo will be providing the keynote address focused on caring for the caregiver, and as is our usual custom, we will present awards honoring individuals’ contributions to improving palliative and end-of-life care. The meeting is free of charge and will provide a great opportunity to network with others and learn more about the organization. The meeting agenda and Zoom link are included in the Coalition Activities section of this newsletter.
Please remember that the coalition is an all-volunteer organization; it is made up of volunteers and run by volunteers. If you would like to suggest a project, contribute a brief article to the Spring newsletter, or help us to expand our reach to others, please contact me or other members of the executive board via the coalition email at email@example.com. We would love to take advantage of your talents and ideas!
I hope that reading this winter newsletter inspires you to bring these ideas into your work. I wish for you a safe, productive, and healthy new year, filled with hope and joy.
Cynthia O’Sullivan, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC
President, CT Coalition to Improve End-of-Life Care