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End of life care training seminars for unemployed and uninspired youth [Updated 08/20/16]

Comprehensive palliative and end of life care training to inspire unemployed youth's life views, spiritual lives, life goals, etc.

Photo of Marea Saldarriaga
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

There aren't enough physicians nor nurses in America properly trained in palliative care medicine. My idea is targeted for millennials, those in the 18-25 age group who suffer from unemployment/underemployment who could become house care givers through a full-time intensive seminar on values, symptom & pain management & palliative care. Through a new career training, they get a meaning for living a reason to wake up daily. People experiencing their #EOL will receive better care at their homes.


  • Comprehensive palliative and end of life care training





Palliative care is important in general practice because the final year of a patients' life is usually spent in and out of hospitals under the care of a general practitioner (GP) and a primary health care team.

Palliative care is a relatively new and developing medical speciality. By implication, there aren't enough physicians nor nurses in America properly trained in this area. Hence there is a high need for education both for health care professionals and keen learners.

On the other hand, there are millennials, those in the 18-25 age group who suffer from unemployment/underemployment and who could become assistant palliative care nurses.

U.S. census data show that 40 percent of our nation's unemployed are millennials, translating into 4.6 million young people out of work. And the number of employed young people making less than $25,000 a year has spiked significantly to the highest levels in more than a quarter century. 
Image title


One out of five Americans are caregivers -Mental Health America Caregivers infographic

Despite this information displayed at the above infographic, there is no guarantee that these care givers are receiving the proper training for such a monumental role.

Establishing a charity dedicated with the mission of training unemployed millenials on broad topics like Pain Management & Palliative Care could bridge the above gap.

A new career training, could result for the unemployed millenial in meaning for living; a reason to wake up every day.

The end of a patient's life could be spent at home (where they are happiest), painless with regular visits from a vivid human being versus with a team of stressed healthcare workers at a hospital.

Knowledge transfer

Home care nurses have an invaluable knowledge not found on literature that could be transfered to millenials via these seminars. They could participate on the seminars facilitation and share their valuable insights to help millenials build empathy and feel confident to assist those in their end of life.

A testimonial from a caregiver from Tobias house attendant care Inc. in Toronto Canada:

If I was to choose two priority topics that a new care giver should take into account when assisting a person going through their end of life, I would say dignity and confidentiality.

It is interesting that from a wide range of specialty topics required to be a health-caregiver, she chose values which form one's criteria and make a whole difference on the person's experience.

It is an immense challenge and will require the knowledge transfer of experts and users as well as the student's will and right learning attitude. However, a good way to transfer this knowledge would be utilising communication tools as the one (attached below) Comm tool for patients and physicians developed by The Lupus foundation of America I found it extremely useful for people with lupus and their caregivers to speak about ways to get and provide support. There are some interesting insights of the type of help patients get from caregivers as well as the things they value from the service provided e.g 'offer a hug' was one thing which stood out from patient's requests.

Visiting Nurse Associations and Home Health and Hospice agencies have prepared helpful materials and resources to help start the conversation about the end of life with our loved ones to encourage advance care planning. 

Designing these type of tools at the actual seminars could really enrich the seminar attendees learning process. Since the range of end of life situations is infinite, owning different sets of tools adapted to specific causes will be key to the organisation's competitive advantage.


Joining forces with established institutions both in the USA and abroad will be key to achieve the organisation's mission and optimise resources.

There are some institutions already working in healthcare which could really help materialise this endeavour.

There are organisations already providing services to help people with disabilities live independently which could be interested in taking the millenials who have been trained in palliative care as potential trainees. A potential alliance with an organisation like this is PACE

An alliance with Americorp could be interesting so that trainings could be built into their affiliates service year.

Community Care Access Centres have a wealth of experience providing a difference on people's lives through outstanding caregiving. Having support from their caregivers to teach millenials the key aspects of successful care-giving would be ideal.

The seminars could be held in local places like YMCA and Settlement Houses in order to maximise the organisation's budget.  

Growth to new audiences

It would be key to identify the places where millenials network and find out about career and social development opportunities in order to communicate the existence of the seminars to the people who are already thinking about similar experiences and to inspire them to consider these trainings.

Getting nurses, and care givers to talk about about the fascinating and highly complex world of palliative/end of life care in places where millenials hang-out will give them the opportunity to reflect about the impact and influence working with the dying could have upon their lives.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Send a structured online questionnaire to all registered GPs, home care nurses, Palliative care experts, in diverse cities of the country to sound the idea with professionals and identify priority topics for proper palliative care training, and to potential seminar attendees, unemployed/underemployed millenials to validate the actual demand of the seminars. After a month, the database would be closed, we would begin data entry, analysis and seminar content ideation.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Collecting information on the doctors and nurses knowledge on symptom and pain management & insights on care givers palliative care knowledge, for the development of relevant questions that will inform the content ideation. Also to identify potential seminar attendees and finally designing questions regarding time-frame, location, and last but not least, networking with potential project sponsors because ideally the seminars would be free/very affordable for the millennials.

Tell us about your work experience:

I have consulted widely with Cultural Institutions and Academic bodies. Designed Business Models and Touch Points to improve the experience a Brand delivers within the Health Sector, Food, Transportation Systems, Technology, Automotive and Real Estate as well as for Education, and Wellness sectors.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual
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Attachments (2)

Caregivers infographic.png

November is Family Caregivers Month. The infographic illustrated key facts about caregivers of individuals with mental illnesses and the issues they face. The most relevant point for this idea is the 5 tips given for becoming an effective caregiver. The first one being-education!

comm tool for patients and physycians.pdf

The Lupus foundation of America created this useful tool for people with lupus and their caregivers to speak about ways to get and provide support. There are some interesting insights of the type of help patients get from caregivers as well as the things they value from the service provided e.g 'offer a hug' Designing these type of tools at the actual seminars could really enrich the seminar attendees learning process. And having different sets of tools adapted to specific illnesses will be key.


Join the conversation:

Photo of D'vorah

Hi Marea!
This is a really interesting proposal and could help address the shortage of lay caregivers comfortable with and trained in assisting those at the end of life.

I wonder if rather than setting up a separate program it might be possible to coordinate this with existing hospices and palliative care programs already in existence in local communities. That would allow these youth to benefit from training that’s already been developed. It could also act as a pipeline into the professional world of palliative and end of life care since most healthcare provider programs (such as nursing, medicine, physical therapy, etc.) require the applicant to have already been volunteering or working in the field of interest. Setting this up as a volunteer or internship program could work very well. Also, hospices are mandated to provide a certain number of volunteer hours/year; bringing in this type of program could help local hospices become more robust and serve more patients and families.

These youth could be trained to provide basic Activities of Daily Living, run errands, provide empathetic visits, etc. Pain and symptom management can be quite complex so I would think the patient would have to still be cared for by hospice, home health or palliative care.

To address the “uninspired” aspect, perhaps there could be weekly or monthly learning and reflection modules. The youth would have the opportunity to continue learning about the fascinating and highly complex world of palliative/end of life care. They could also have opportunities to reflect with their cohort and with professionals (nurses, doctors, chaplains, social workers, etc.) about the impact and influence working with the dying is having upon their own life views, perspectives, spiritual lives, life goals, etc.

The training could also use some of the excellent conversation at end of life tools already developed by groups like   I could see this becoming an exciting way to cultivate a much broader base of knowledgeable, empowered advocates for good palliative and end of life care.  

Photo of Marea Saldarriaga

D'vorah thanks so much for taking the time to reflect upon my contribution. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments they were really interesting and valuable to enrich and reframe my original idea. What is your profession? how did you become interested in Palliative care?, where are you based?

Photo of D'vorah

Hi Marea! I'm pleased to know the comments were helpful.  My professional background: RN and multifaith chaplain with over 15 years' experience in palliative care/end of life care work in hospitals (academic and community) and community hospice programs.  I'm in the SF Bay Area. 

Photo of Marea Saldarriaga

Hi D'vorah It is the first time I hear about spiritual Palliative care. What does RN stand for?
Anyway, your profession is very noble. It would be interesting to consider this type of care in the seminar content.  Do you know the AHPCC Association of Hospice & Palliative Care Chaplains? they might be interested in joining forces...
Did you participate in the #EOL OpenIDEO challenge? or how did you come across my post? Cheers!

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