Section XI: Reimagining and Reinventing Culture

End-of-Life: From Medical Failure to Sacred Experience

In this track, we will challenge the existing paradigm that often isolates aging adults and those at end-of-life and measures them in degrees of diminishing functions. Our sessions will highlight programs and initiatives across the globe that offer life-giving and community-building alternatives so that, together, we might have the tools to reclaim aging and end-of-life as sacred experiences.

Track Heads

SaraNichols

Sarah Nichols
Director of Pastoral Care, Episcopal Communities & Services

The Rev. Sarah W. Nichols, serves as Director of Pastoral Care for Episcopal Communities & Services (ECS), a nonprofit organization that owns and operates continuing care retirement communities in Southern California, manages eleven senior affordable housing communities, and provides care and services to older adults. Sarah oversees ECS’ comprehensive Pastoral Care Program and our communities’ chaplains to support the spiritual well-being of residents, families, and staff. She provides training and counseling in areas such as palliative care, end-of-life issues, compassion fatigue, and fostering quality of life.

She is also the Director of By Your Side, a program based at ECS that provides end-of-life education and training to volunteers and professionals, enabling them to serve as a compassionate presence to those who are chronically ill or dying. By Your Side places volunteers with partner hospitals and long-term care facilities in Southern California and provides ongoing support and education to those volunteers.

Sarah was one of forty professionals who participated in the “Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care as a Dimension of Palliative Care Project” in 2009. She was a contributing author to the Hospice Foundation of America’s 2011 book, Living with Grief: Spirituality and End-of-Life Care, and in 2013 her article “Examining the Impact of Spiritual Care in Long-Term Care” was published in OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying.

Suggested Reading List

Links to Section-related books and media for pre-conference preparation include: