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Women's prison receives special hospice training * 11/28/2012

Women's prison receives special hospice training

Twenty-six offender volunteers and several correctional staff members at Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC) took part in a two-day training on caring for aging and dying persons in correctional facilities Nov. 7-8. The training was made available through a grant obtained by Kansas University Area Health Education Centers through the Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS and was presented by Director Central Plains Geriatric Education Center Linda J. Redford, RN, PhD; and Carol McAdoo, Resource Network consultant for end of life care in corrections. Redford and McAdoo have provided this training at a number of male correctional facilities across the United States, but CCC was the first female institution to receive this training.

Training of staff and offender volunteers was done in preparation for establishing a hospice/aging offender program at Chillicothe Correctional Center. Participants in the training were instructed on a number of topics beginning with the statistics on the aging population of U.S. prisons, which has increased by 63 percent between 2007 and 2010. Participants learned about the common issues of an aging population and the common causes of death among inmates. Other topics included: When the Brain Begins to Fail, Understanding and Responding to Behavioral Symptoms of Dementia, End of Life Care, and The Language of Comfort, Conflict and Control: A Special Kind of Communication.

It was a full two days of training with all 26 offender volunteers successfully completing the training and receiving a certificate of completion. Additional training will be provided to the offender volunteers by CCC staff in the near future that will be specific to the hospice/aging offender program at CCC. That training will include detailed duties and responsibilities of the hospice volunteers and how they will work with the offender patients.

The hospice/aging offender program will be managed by a hospice team made up of staff from several disciplines including a physician, the health services administrator, the hospice coordinator, and the hospice nurse. The hospice team may include other disciplines such as psychological services, institutional chaplain, food service, and recreation on a consulting or as-needed basis.

CCC has a house dog, Brutus, who already visits with terminally ill offenders and interacts with the offenders in the Transitional Care Unit. CCC staff and offender volunteers who work with the aging population consider Brutus a part of their team.