Hope and Resilience at the End of Life: Healing Presence in Our Lives and The Lives of Our Patients

September 23, 2021

1.5 contact hours


Online via WebEx


From our Hope and Resilience at the End of Life Annual Conference series, we present to you this Online Webinar focused on Healing Presence in Our lives and The Lives of Our Patients.

Health care providers and caregivers practicing in end-of-life care settings possess a depth of knowledge and empathic understanding that allows them to provide extraordinary care to their patients, often at times of great distress. Bearing witness to the suffering of others can take a toll on professionals, no matter how well prepared they are. Empathy is the cornerstone of this work, but it can draw one into empathic distress, which comes at a high price.  

What can we do to counter the impact of empathic distress and still provide such extraordinary care? 

When we sit consciously and compassionately in the presence of our patients, we are in the present moment— we hold space for them.  We believe in and affirm their condition, no matter what it is, and who they are, in their entirety, at whatever point they are in their lives. This is healing presence. Our presence does not cure life-threatening conditions or fix the tragic circumstances of another’s life, but it can heal. It is an organic force from within ourselves that offers purpose, meaning and wholeness to another’s life.  

This webinar will introduce participants to the foundational elements of healing presence and how one can practice it with thoughtful introspection. Healing presence also requires a connection with our own hearts and psyches, and perhaps changes us in the process. 

Keynote: Dr. Donna A. Gaffney

Donna Gaffney
Dr. Donna A. Gaffney

Dr. Donna Gaffney has long addressed trauma, loss and grief in the lives of children, adults, and communities. As a psychotherapist and consultant, she has worked with families, schools, and professionals in the aftermath of tragedies and national disasters, such as the Challenger explosion, the Pan Am 103 crash, Sandy Hook, the Haitian earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Dr. Gaffney was a member of the New Jersey Traumatic Loss Coalition and the State of NJ Disaster Mental Health Services, working with Liberty Science Center, communities, families and professionals. She served on the Families of September 11 advisory board, facilitating one of the first online support groups for family members affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Planners and Speakers have no conflicts of interest to disclose regarding this educational activity.

There is no commercial support or sponsorship for this activity.

This Online Webinar is made possible by the generous support of The Schwimmer Family, The VNA Health Group of New Jersey, and the RWJBarnabas Health Home Care and Hospice.



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In support of improving patient care, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

PHYSICIANS Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

NURSES This activity is awarded 1.5 contact hour (60 minute CH). Nurses should only claim those contact hours actually spent participating in the activity. 

Jointly Accredited Provider