Targum Shlishi Supports Programs to Educate Clinicians on Issues Surrounding Holocaust
Survivors Facing End of Life
September 24, 2012–Holocaust survivors who
are facing advanced illness and/or end of life are a unique patient population
with particular needs and challenges. Unfortunately, many health care
professionals are not sufficiently aware of or knowledgeable about the
lingering effects of Holocaust trauma on the survivors, and therefore they lack
the tools to deal compassionately with this population and their families.
Targum Shlishi is supporting an initiative of MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care, in New York,
to create resources to help train clinicians (social workers, case workers,
chaplains, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, home
health aides) to deal more effectively and compassionately with Holocaust
survivors at the end of life. There are estimated to be between thirty and
thirty-five thousand Holocaust survivors in the New York metropolitan area,
many of whom are coping with serious illnesses. The
survivors and their families can pose unique challenges for clinicians.
may experience flashbacks based on their traumatic experience. This can be viewed by clinicians as psychosis, agitation, or severe
depressive disorders. When professionals are educated about emotional
triggers for Holocaust survivors, it allows them to deliver care in ways that
are sensitive to their experience,” explains Toby Weiss, MJHS’s director of
Cultural Diversity and Jewish Programming.
MJHS Hospice and
Palliative Care is working to develop an instructional
guide for facilitators and a workbook for participants to be used in
facilitator-led trainings for clinicians (either traditional classroom or
webinar format). The organization conducted a research study to help understand
the attitudes of survivors about end-of-life care and areas of care that can be
improved by educating clinicians and professional caregivers about the
Holocaust experience. In addition, MJHS held an extremely successful education
program for clinicians and professional caregivers in 2011 and 2012 and is now
building on that program with these written resources, which will make this
material available to a wide audience of clinicians.
“This is a critically
important project and one that is long overdue,” notes Raquel Rubin,
co-director of Targum Shlishi.
“Our goal in supporting MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care’s work in developing
these resources is to reach as many healthcare workers as quickly as possible
so that the remaining Holocaust survivors and their families can receive
end-of-life care that is appropriate for them and that is respectful.”
About MJHS Hospice
and Palliative Care
MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care is a non-for-profit organization serving New
York City and Nassau County. It is the largest hospice and palliative care
program in New York State and the largest Jewish hospice in the region. MJHS is
rooted in Jewish values and traditions, although it is not a religious
organization and has patients of all faiths, cultures, and ethnicities. MJHS
has created unique, culturally specific end-of-life care programs to serve
different populations, including Jewish patients. For further information visit
its website at http://www.mjhs.org/.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated
to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today.
Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically
been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its
people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and
innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its
traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation,
visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org.