NFDA Seminars on Collaborative Care for the Dying, the Dead, the Bereaved Reach Nearly 1,000 Caregivers

May 11, 2011
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Brookfield, Wis. — The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), in cooperation with funeral director associations in 18 states, hosted a series of regional seminars in April that brought together 1,000 hospice, clergy, healthcare professionals, educators, funeral directors and other professionals who care for the dying, the dead and the bereaved. The Good Death, Good Grief, Good Funerals: Finding Our Place on the Continuum of Care, which featured noted authors and speakers feature Dr. Thomas Long and Thomas Lynch, took place:

  • April 5 at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Penn., attracting 340 attendees.
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  • April 6 at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass., attracting 240 attendees
  • April 12 at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., attracting 160 attendees
  • April 18 at University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind., attracting 150 attendees

Additionally, Lynch spoke to approximately 125 members of the clergy on April 12 prior to the seminar at Emory University.

“The positive impact their program had on so many diverse constituents was remarkable,” said NFDA Past President and seminar attendee John Carmon, CFSP, of Carmon Community Funeral Homes in Windsor, Conn. “We must remember there are new people entering our ‘end-of-life universe’ every day and this was an opportunity to have them hear a positive message [about funeral service].”

Ritual and spiritual practices are important components of end-of-life care. During the seminars, Lynch and Long shared ideas and strategies for growing a sense of community and collaboration among professionals who support and care for the dying and those who have experienced a death.

Approximately half of the audience at each of these seminars comprised clergy, hospice and social workers, and the rest were funeral directors. The dialogue during the question and answer session at the end of the program gave all in attendance an opportunity to explore the issues critical to their roles serving the dying, dead and bereaved.

Long is the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. He is the author of many books including, The Witness of Preaching and Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral.

Lynch is a writer and funeral director from Milford, Mich. He has taught with the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. His books include The Undertaking, which became an Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary by the same name.

The Good Death, Good Grief, Good Funerals seminars were co-hosted by the state funeral directors associations of Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

NFDA is the world’s leading funeral service association, serving 18,500 individual members who represent more than 9,900 funeral homes in the United States and 43 countries around the world. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., and its Advocacy Division office in Washington, D.C., NFDA is the worldwide source of expertise and professional resources for all facets of funeral service. Through education, information and advocacy, NFDA is dedicated to supporting members in their mission to provide families with meaningful end-of-life services at the highest levels of excellence and integrity. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.

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