Who is the DEOLC?
The Delaware End-of-Life Coalition, Inc. (DEOLC) is a 501 (c)(3) organization which had its beginning in 2000. During that year, PBS broadcasted a four-part Bill Moyer’s special titled Dying on Our Own Terms. The program was “the basis of a national effort to encourage discussion and community action on end-of-life (EOL) issues.” One goal of the effort was to foster the development of sustainable local coalitions to “address concerns around EOL care, generate dialogue and community action on EOL issues, and encourage policy makers to participate in public discussions of what constitutes appropriate EOL care.” The Philadelphia affiliate of PBS, under its Wider Horizons Program, took the next step by forming the Caring Community, a volunteer coalition of more than 100 partners representing non-profit organizations including the newly organized DEOLC, faith-based groups, academic institutions, healthcare organizations and others to enhance EOL and caregiver outreach through educational programs and supportive services. From this foundation, DEOLC developed a vision and mission that continues today in providing educational programs for both professional and public audiences and promoting dialogue about EOL issues throughout the state of Delaware. Our membership is composed of nurses, physicians, social workers, hospice staff, clergy, educators, grief counselors, funeral home staff and many others.
DEOLC sponsors numerous programs including:
• ELNEC Train-the-Trainer Programs focused on EOL care for nurses and social workers in all DE hospitals (funded by the DE Cancer Consortium)
• Annual Excellence Awards Dinner to recognize healthcare clinicians who provide exceptional and compassionate EOL care
• National Healthcare Decisions Day Program which focuses on helping the public understand the need and value of advance directives
• National Survivors of Suicide Day Program provided in collaboration with the DE Mental Health Association and others to provide support and resources to survivors prior to the holiday season (a local program in tandem with a national videoconference)
• Veterans Program in collaboration with the VA and others to educate first responders to identify veterans who may be eligible for hospice and other EOL services; also the development of magnets which are used in healthcare facilities to identify and honor veterans
• Online Thanatology Certificate Program, developed by the College of Health Sciences, Univ. of Delaware by a former DEOLC President and now offered exclusively through DEOLC; targeted to professionals working with the dying and bereaved; provides continuing education credit
Today DEOLC is a viable force in Delaware, working in concert with other related organizations, to provide professional and public education related to EOL issues. The DEOLC goal is that all Delawareans have the information needed to make fully informed decisions about EOL issues and care.