Minutes from May 13, 2010 Meeting

We had an exciting meeting with lots of energy from the fifteen people attending. Now that Home Care of Our Deceased legislation has passed, the group focused on the next steps. Solid plans for the summer and fall emerged:

  • Hold a Public Forum on June 29, 2010. This gathering will feature State Representative Carolyn Laine discussing the new law; Linda Bergh and Heather Halen will share information about doing home care of the deceased, home visitations, and home funerals; Theresa Purcell will share information about green burials. Nancy Manahan will be the MC. The event will take place at Washburn Public Library  6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Support the Minnesota Department of Health in creating a brochure. The DoH is planning to put out a brochure on how to care for the dead at home and how to have a home vigil/funeral. Rep. Carolyn Laine has suggested that the MTN help with this project. Nancy will provide resources that the department can use as it writes the brochure. We hope that the brochure will be available by August 1, when the law goes into effect.
  • Identify supportive funeral directors. Theresa Purcell, president of the Minnesota chapter of  Trust for Natural Legacies, with help from Julie Tinberg, will be meeting with funeral directors in the area to discuss their support for home care of the deceased, home vigils/funerals, and green burials. Theresa will compile the information and make it available to MTN.
  • Identify and list death care guides. More and more people are seeking information on what to do when someone dies and they want an alternative to conventional death-care practices. Linda Bergh has a list of people who are willing to be on call to help a family through the process of caring for their own. She will contact those people to see if they are willing to be listed on the MTN blog as resources.
  • Screen a film. We talked about showing the new documentary about Linda Bergh’s husband, “The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman” in August to continue educating ourselves and the public. Theresa will see if it can be screened at Trylon Cinema, a 50-seat theater at 3258 Minnehaha Ave So. After the movie, we could talk about the work of MTN and announce plans for upcoming workshops.
  • Educate! Educate! Educate!. Education will be a major focus of MTN. Linda Bergh, Heather Halen, Becky Bohan, Nancy Manahan, and others have expressed interest in being involved. Given the work of hospice and the availability of training that deals with caring for the dying, MTN would focus its training on after-death care in three categories:
    • MTN members. Training would focus on after-death care, and if time, planning for death, including Five Wishes, Physician Ordered Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), or equivalent documents. It would be open to the 100+ people on the MTN email list. Part of this training could involve train-the-trainer so MTN would have a bank of presenters. The first session will be on  Sept. 11, 2010. Karen Greer will see if space at the Spirit United building is available that day.
    • Professionals. Training would focus on hospice staff (what happens AFTER someone dies), coroners and medical examiners, nursing home staff, ministers, parish nurses, etc. One aspect of this training would be to emphasize the rights that families have when a loved one dies.  Nancy will contact Charlene Elderkin who is doing a presentation at the Wisconsin coroners and medical examiners convention in to see what materials she is using that could be incorporated into our training. Linda, Heather, and Lisa Venable will investigate offering CEUs for this training.
    • Education for the general public. This training would include presentations at churches, libraries, and other public venues. These sessions could focus on Advanced Care and Advanced Funeral Directives, POLST, planning for a death, home after-death care, working with funeral directors, vigils and visitations, and green burials.

Minutes prepared by Becky Bohan.

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