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Healthcare Decision Making: What Every Social Worker Needs to Know

Date and Time

Thursday, December 2, 2021
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET

Offered via live webinar.

Completion of this class will result in the receipt of two (2) continuing education hours.

Registration will close at midnight of the day before the class.

Despite the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, advance care planning remains poorly understood and often completed at the very end of life. Consequently, patients are left with making difficult health care decisions in highly stressful situations and in poor health. Similarly, designated healthcare decision makers often need to make these decisions with little or no knowledge of the patient’s wishes. This class will provide an overview of advance care planning as an essential component of quality patient care. Advance care planning documents, such as advance directives and POLST orders, will be discussed. Strategies on how to facilitate quality advance care planning conversations will be presented, and the role of the social worker in promoting advance care planning will be elaborated upon.

Learning Objectives:

Social workers who have taken this course will be able to:

  1. Define advance care planning and its importance to quality patient care.
  2. Describe the difference between advance directives and POLST.
  3. Describe important features of quality advance care planning conversations
  4. Describe ethical issues related to end-of-life care health care decision making.


Christine WilkensChristine Wilkins, Ph.D., LCSW, Director of Social Work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Christine Wilkins, Ph.D., LCSW is the Director of Social Work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City where she oversees a team of sixty social workers. Prior to this, she was the inaugural Advance Care Planning Program Manager at NYU Langone Health (NYULH) where she developed an extensive program to enhance advance care planning across the NYULH system. She helped introduce the New York State electronic Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (eMOLST) at NYULH and collaborated with the IT team to develop a robust system in the electronic health record to document and retrieve advance care planning efforts. During her 21 years at NYULH, she was manager for the inpatient palliative care team, senior social worker on the inpatient pediatric unit, social worker in the emergency department, and member of the bio-ethics committee. Dr. Wilkins serves as a board member for the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, New York State MOLST and national POLST. She is adjunct faculty at NYU, Smith College and Fordham University.

Volume discounts are not applied at checkout. They will be issued as a refund.

  • Full Tuition - $60
  • GSS Alumni - $50
  • Current Field Instructor - $50
  • Current Adjunct Faculty - $50
  • SWHPN Member - $50
  • 3+ members registering from one agency - $40 per registration
  • Non-Fordham Current MSW or Social Work PhD Student - $40
  • Veterans - $40
  • Fordham Faculty and Staff - $40
  • Current Fordham MSW or PhD Student - $30
  • Fordham Alumni Palliative Care Fellow - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellowship Field Instructor/Career Mentor - $30
  • Current Fordham Palliative Care Fellow or Montefiore Fellow - $0

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 at least a few days before the class.