End of Life

Palliative and End of Life Care Special Interest Group

According to the World Health Organization, Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of care. (http://www.who.int/cancer/palliative/definition/en/)

The mission of the Palliative and End of Life Care SIG is to explore, enhance, and promote the contributions that mental health professionals can make to palliative and end-of-life care, research, and social policies. We also aim to encourage, support, and educate psychologists, psychologists in training, and other mental health professionals who work or are interested in these challenging and fulfilling fields.

The Palliative and End of Life Care SIG is committed to providing its members and others with the resources and support needed to deliver the best possible care during this unique stage of life. As a group, we have targeted the following activities for development:

  • Consultation group;
  • Reading group (e.g., journal articles, books);
  • Presentations by Palliative and End of Life Care SIG members on their own research or writings;
  • Consultation to other health care providers working in palliative and end-of-life care and research;
  • Educational opportunities for other health care providers working in palliative and end-of-life care and research; and
  • Coordinating with community organizations to provide educational opportunities for the general public about palliative and end-of-life care and concerns.
  • Our next project is to prepare a list of palliative and an end-of-life care resources (e.g., forms, literature, organizations) that we can have easily available to us in order to better serve our clients.

To encourage group interaction, the Palliative and End of Life Care SIG attempts to meet three times yearly in Seattle. (On the fourth Friday of January, April, July, and November from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM in Seattle). We also have a listserv where we share information about end-of-life care and concerns and where there are opportunities to network, refer, and consult with fellow colleagues (This listserv is only available to members of the Palliative and End of Life Care SIG).

Finally, we know that in our professional career we are more likely than not to work with clients who are receiving palliative care or facing end-of-life issues— be it their own or a loved one's. The Palliative and End of Life Care SIG is available to other WSPA members who would like to consult with us regarding end-of-life care and concerns (see contact information below).

If you wish to join our SIG, please contact Alison Ward, Ph.D. at wardalison@live.com

Death with Dignity

Please note: the following linked documents contain some out-dated links. They are being updated and will be uploaded here when done.

Washington State Psychological Association Death with Dignity Guidelines for Mental Health Professionals

These guidelines are under revision and expected to be completed 2018. If there are any questions, contact Judith Gordon, Ph.D. jgordon@uw.edu or Alison Ward, Ph.D. wardalison@live.com.

Washington Death With Dignity Initiative, A report with summary and recommendations by the Washington State Psychological Association End-of-Life Committee, June 2008.

Washington State Psychological Association Policy on Value-Neutral Language Regarding End-Of-Life Choices