from a Catholic Perspective
Marlton, NJ – Via Lucis, the Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice ministry for Catholic patients and families, in collaboration with the Dioceses of Camden and Trenton, recently presented Now & At the Hour of Our Death on Friday, February 15, 2019 at St. Paul’s Parochial School (250 James Street, Burlington). The 12th annual Catholic educational workshop, sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton and St. John of God Community Services, was open to local health care professionals of all disciplines, chaplains, priests, religious, deacons and lay ministers, parish volunteers, lay ministers, parishioners and family caregivers.
“Each year, Samaritan’s Now & At the Hour of Our Death workshop allows attendees to explore various end-of-life issues, further encouraging healthy dialogue between Catholics and those serving the Catholic community” said Mary Ann Boccolini, president and CEO of Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice. “The workshop also encourages open discussions between family members, clergy and healthcare providers to ensure access to patient-centered care and quality of life.”
This year’s workshop focused on Addressing Pain and Suffering – exploring how hospice and palliative care can provide pain relief, as well as emotional, spiritual and social support for patients and families living with serious illnesses. Itfeatured a light dinner and networking, followed by an educational program that included a keynote address from respected local physician John Bertagnolli, DO, and an interdisciplinary panel discussion.
Dr. Bertagnolli, a board-certified physician, associate professor of medicine, humanitarian-mission volunteer and ordained deacon, served as this year’s keynote speaker. During his remarks, he addressed the following subject matter from a Catholic perspective: what palliative care is and is not, how it compares to hospice care and how the benefits provide a better quality of life throughout the course of illness.
Dr. Bertagnolli, a hospice and palliative care physician for Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, has more than 35 years of family medicine experience. At Samaritan, Dr. Bertagnolli oversees interdisciplinary teams and patient care. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. He is also very active in his community, serving as a volunteer physician for Missionaries of the Poor in Jamaica, an assistant Scout master and advisory committee chair for a local Boy Scouts troop and an ordained deacon at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Moorestown.
To complement the keynote address, an interdisciplinary panel discussion on end-of-life care followed Dr. Bertagnolli’s presentation which featured local palliative and hospice care experts offering three unique perspectives – nursing, social work and clergy. Panelists included: Colleen Fritsch, MSW, LCSW, social worker, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice; John Posniewski, RN, BSN, nurse liaison, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice and Chaplain Betty Warner, BCC, BCCC, CFHPC, spiritual support counselor, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice. Chaplain Marge McGinley of Virtua Hospital and national chair of Formation for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul facilitated the panel discussion.