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Pontifical Academy for Life Dedicates Upcoming Assembly to End of Life Assistance to the Elderly

Palliative Care, Medical Care and Decision-Making Processes Among Issues To Be Discussed

Bringing science and faith together in service to the elderly and to those in need of palliative care will be at the core of a Vatican conference next month.

With the official theme: “Assisting the Elderly and Palliative Care,” the 21st General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life will take place in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall from March 5-7.

For those interested in acquiring a deeper knowledge of the theme from philosophical, ethical, medical, cultural and social viewpoints, a workshop will be made open to the public, especially scholars, healthcare and pastoral workers, and students.

A number of specific issues will be considered in the first session of the workshop, entitled, “Clinical care for the elderly at the end of life,” such as: medical care for the elderly with chronic degenerative illnesses, the use and abuse of analgesics in palliative care, nursing care for the terminally ill, and clinical decision-making processes for the elderly at the end of life.

The second session will be dedicated to ethical and anthropological perspectives, and will focus on the central role of relationships with the elderly in family, social and hospital contexts. It also will explore guidelines for accompanying the elderly as they near death, while respecting their dignity and avoiding any form of abandonment or euthanasia.

While the second session concludes with an analysis of socio-cultural perspectives, the third and final session will explore the spirituality of the elderly in later years. It will look at legal aspects of the end of life, pastoral care and the role of the family, and will end with the question, “What is social solidarity?”

In February 1994, with his Motu Proprio ‘Vitae Mysterium,’ Pope John Paul II established the Pontifical Academy for Life, also known as Pontificia Accademia Pro Vita. While its academic task is “to study questions and issues connected with the promotion and defense of human life from an interdisciplinary perspective,” its social task is to “foster a culture of life though suitable initiatives and always in full respect of the Magisterium of the Church.” The Academy also does related research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology.

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For more information on the assembly, its program, and registration information, visit the Pontifical Council for Life’s website: http://www.academiavita.org/_articles/1619381215-2015_workshop_palliative_care_pav.php

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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