ABOUT THIS COURSE:
People with disabilities face many of the same issues at the end of life as people without disabilities as well as some additional issues and challenges. Today the life expectancy of a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities is almost the same as it would be for a person in the general population. As people with disabilities live longer and are more integrated into the community, they outlive family caregivers more frequently, require additional supports into advanced age, and choose to receive care at the end of life in their own homes. The number of people in this situation is expected to rise as the Baby Boomer generation moves into this age category. This course provides an introduction to some critical issues that arise at the end of life for people with disabilities. It is meant for all members of the interdisciplinary team that provides support and care. This course will introduce basic legal and ethical guidelines for decision making at the end of life. Advance planning can provide clarity in complex, stressful situations in cases where people are unable to communicate or provide consent. Your knowledge of an individuals preferences, as well as their basic rights and ethics will help you support the person you are serving and their families. This course provides basic information about some common medical decisions that are included in an end of life plan, as well as information about specialized healthcare options such as palliative care and hospice. You will also hear some important concerns that have been raised by groups like Not Dead Yet about the undertreatment of individuals with disabilities, which has been linked to negative assumptions about quality of life and disability. Recognizing this, the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disability has issued the statement Caring at the End of Life to shape policies for care. This is an overview course that provides general information. Each state and agency will have its own laws, regulatory issues, and policies. After taking this course, staff should be sure to inform themselves about the specific policies and regulations that pertain to their role and responsibilities.