Choice in Dying: Current Legal, Policy, and Ethical Issues

Date and Time

March 20, 2023
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. EDT

Register for Class

Offered via live webinar.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of four (4) continuing education hours.

  • Many patients, particularly at the end of life, do not receive quality care. Palliative and hospice care, are not often provided in a timely manner, if at all. Additionally, the health care wishes of patients are often not honored and dying patients may receive interventions they never wanted. Patients who experience intolerable suffering may not know of options that could reduce their suffering and allow them to die with dignity, in accordance with their values and wishes. In order to make ‘informed decisions’ about end-of-life care, patients must be given information about expected benefits and burdens of proposed interventions, as well as the consequences of changing the focus of care to comfort. This class will present legal options that permit patients control over the timing of their own death, including voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED). Social workers can play an important role as catalysts for better quality care for patients at the end of life to ensure that their health care wishes are respected.


    Social workers who take this course will be able to:

    1. Describe the laws in New York State that are related to health care decisions and the rights of patients related to choice in end-of-life care;
    2. Describe three options available to patients to relieve pain and suffering at the end of life;
    3. Demonstrate familiarity with the several types of advance directives 
    4. Identify clients who might benefit from learning about the ‘dementia directive’
    5. Describe the medical, psychosocial, and ethical issues related to voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED)
    6. Describe ethical issues related to end-of-life choices
  • David Leven

    David C. Leven, JD, Executive Director Emeritus and Senior Consultant, End of Life Choices New York

    An expert on advance care planning, patient rights, palliative care and end-of-life issues, David Leven, was the Executive Director of End of Life Choices New York for 14 years. He is an advocate for patients and patient rights who has played a leadership role in having legislation introduced and enacted to improve pain management and palliative care and expand the rights of patients. Mr. Leven lectures frequently to professional groups and citizens. He was a regular guest lecturer at Fordham Graduate School of Social Service and College of New Rochelle Nursing School, and has spoken at all of the NYC area law schools. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Syracuse University College of Law.

    Judith Schwarz

    Judith Schwarz, PhD, MSN, RN. Clinical Director, End of Life Choices New York

    Dr. Schwarz has been the Clinical Director of EOLCNY for almost 20 years; in that capacity she responds to requests for information and guidance such as end of life choices and options. Most callers have terminal or incurable and progressive illnesses and seek information about potentially controlling the circumstances and timing of their deaths. She works closely with colleagues in hospice and palliative care and publishes regularly in peer-reviewed professional journals. She earned her PhD in nursing at New York University, her Master’s degree at Lehman College, and completed her undergraduate degree at Fordham University at Lincoln Center.

  • Our regular fees are listed below:

    • Full Tuition - $120
    • GSS Alumni - $100
    • Current Field Instructor - $100
    • Current Adjunct Faculty - $100
    • SWHPN Member - $100
    • 3+ members registering from one agency - $80 per registration
    • Non-Fordham Current MSW or Social Work PhD Student - $80
    • Veterans - $80
    • Fordham Faculty and Staff - $80
    • Current Fordham MSW or PhD Student - $60
    • Fordham Alumni Palliative Care Fellow - $60
    • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellowship Field Instructor/Career Mentor - $60
    • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellow or Montefiore Fellow - $0

    Continuing Education Hours

    Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service is a provider of social work continuing education hours, as approved by the New York State Education Department Board for Social Work.

    Completion of this class will result in the receipt of four (4) continuing education hours. CEHs are not awarded for partial completion of the class.

  • You will receive the Zoom link for joining the class a few days before the class. You will need a computer and a reliable WiFi connection. The computer may be a desktop or a laptop. It may be an Apple or Windows computer.

    If you have never used Zoom before, you will likely be prompted to download an applet, which is a small program that allows Zoom to communicate with your computer. This is safe and you will need to do this to join the class.

    It is NOT advised that you participate using a table (e.g,.an iPad) or a cellular phone. The software is not optimized for these devices.

    Please plan to join the online class 15 minutes before the start time to be sure that you don’t have any problems connecting. We cannot provide technical support to you and refunds won’t be offered if you have technical problems. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us at [email protected] at least a few days before the class.