Complex Legal and Public Policy Issues in End-of-Life Care

Live Interactive Webinar  
Instructor: Barbara A. Reich, J.D.  
Level: Intermediate  
CEs: 2.5 CEs are available
Target Audience: Social workers and other social service providers working in palliative care.
Course Delivery Method, Format and Instructor Interaction: Live interactive webinar with discussion. Instructor will use lecture, large group discussion and clinical case discussion. Attendees are visible to one another in Zoom meeting and are encouraged to be active participants with their camera and/or microphone in order take part in discussion. Login information will be emailed to all program participants a week before the fall and spring sessions.
System Requirements: Attendees will need access to a computer with working camera and microphone. All courses are offered using Zoom conferencing software.

Using law as its basis, this seminar examines advance directives, law concerning physician-aid-in-dying, informed consent and surrogate decision-making, refusal or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment and legal and public policy developments that influence patient autonomy and end-of-life (EOL) social work practice. Students will learn about the interplay between law, ethics and human behavior and will understand the limitations of law in achieving goals for seriously ill patients.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the legal, ethical and policy context in which palliative care and end-of-life care operate
  2. Explain how law, ethical principles and policy impact end-of-life decision-making process for patients, physicians, social workers and health care institutions 
  3. Describe how to use legal and policy analysis to better navigate, mediate and manage competing work demands
  4. Describe how to use legal and policy analysis to improve management of conflicts in end-of-life decision-making
  5. Describe how to use legal and policy analysis to more knowledgeably contribute to legal and policy-making discussions based on professional experience and the needs of clients


  • 11 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. ET:
    • Ethical principles in EOL court proceedings: ethical principle and autonomy and ethical principle of beneficence and the protection they are given by a parallel set of legal principles and decisions (constitutional principles, statutes, regulations, and court decisions)
    • Surrogate decision-making and the role of decisional capacity in law and medical practice is often a source of conflict and uncertainty. 
    • ​Introduction to advance directives
  • 12:20 - 12:30 p.m. ET: Break
  • 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. ET:
    • When and how courts intervene in EOL care decisions
    • ​Legislative Initiatives and Interventions—a quick tour through two statutes that impact end-of-life decision-making and care
Barbara Reich faces the camera wearing a maroon top and glasses.

Barbara A. Reich, J.D.

Professional Education Instructor
Barbara Reich is a professor of law at Western New England University School of Law. She joined the law faculty in 2005 and teaches torts and a variety of…
Completion Requirements for Live Interactive Webinars

Live, interactive webinars are synchronous, virtual courses held in a Zoom meeting. To receive a CE certificate, you must attend the entirety of the webinar. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the training. Participant attendance is tracked through Zoom. To earn CE credit, participants must also complete an evaluation. A link to the online evaluation will be emailed to participants within 24 hours of the conclusion of the course. It is attendee’s responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements. Receiving CEs is contingent on attendance and completion of the evaluation.

How Will a CE Certificate Be Awarded?
Upon completing the webinar evaluation, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of webinar completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records.