National Healthcare Decisions Day 2019

Thank You For Attending! We had a great day sharing information, education and resources!


This Event has Already Happened for 2019 – stay tuned for more information for 2020 and other events!


This Event was Free and Open to the Public – Registration is Encouraged & Donations are Appreciated!  

Access Materials and Links From Our Speakers and Exhibits!Fill Out The Event Survey - Give us your Feedback to continue to grow and improve!

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.  Please check out the national event page at  National Decisions Day is part of the Conversation Project.

Event Schedule

We are excited to be able to expand the event this year to include 2 great educational sessions with great speakers.

1:45pm – Open Remarks from Our Sponsors

2:00pm  –  Virtual Reality in End-of-Life Education By University of New England/Hospice of Southern Maine. 

3:15pm  – A short film & panel discussion about Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED) at end-of-life.

4:15pm – Closing Remarks and Our Thanks!

Exhibit booths will be available from 1-5pm – please take time to speak with our vendors and learn about options so you can make informed choices about your care!

Copies of the Maine Advanced Directive Forms will be available all day – get yours, and make sure you complete and share it with those you love!

Speakers & Presentations


Virtual Reality in End-of-Life Education:

 Barbara J. Swartzlander, MSEd, MLS and Elizabeth Dyer, MLIS, AHIP of University of New England  will team up with Heidi Farber, Development and Outreach Director for Hospice of Southern Maine to discuss the collaboration on and development of the new virtual reality experience: Clay Labs.  This presentation is designed to answer your questions about what to expect during the virtual reality experience and what might come up emotionally both during and afterwards.  We will also discuss who might benefit from the experience.  There will be time set aside for questions from the audience.

 **Due to the nature of the virtual reality experience and time required,  it will not be available to the public to try for themselves at this event, however, information will be available on how you can arrange a session at one of multiple area locations.  We encourage you to come learn about the experience, what to expect and what feelings it may bring up prior to the virtual reality session itself, so please join us!

Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED):

A panel will discuss Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking, or VSED, a way for people with serious illness to end their lives without physician-assisted suicide. While “death with dignity” advocates are now collecting signatures to legalize assisted suicide in Maine, VSED is already legal in all 50 states. A short film about one man’s experience with VSED, Dying Well: Jack Fahey, will be shown at the panel discussion.

Panel members include:

Tracy Brown, Fahey’s partner and an Instructor at UMass Boston
Amanda Carr, a hospice nurse, educator, and “death doula”
Carol Powers, an attorney and medical ethicist at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School
Moderator: Gina Colombatto, a Health Educator and Integrative Thanatology Counselor
 **Please note the presence of any speaker or exhibitor at this event is not a statement on their position or support of the use of VSED.  For the purpose of this event we will be focusing on the use of VSED for people with a 6-month or less terminal diagnosis who wish to exercise some measure of control over their decline and the timing of their death due to terminal disease processes.


Brought to you by:


This Year's Event Has Been Generously Sponsored By:

 Chad E. Poitras Cremation & Funeral Service



Our Exhibitors

Each year we’ve done this event we have worked to bring an exciting mix of end of life service providers, products and ideas to the public, this year is no exception!   Check out our Exhibit/vendor list and see what might interest you!

Nancy Rosalie – Burial Shrouds

Misha Pride

Elder Law Attorney

Vibrational Healing with Andrea Wenger



How will my donations be used?

Donations made at registration and at the event will go toward next year’s event and the establishment of a Nursing Honor Guard in Southern Maine.  We thank you in advance for your kindness and contributions that help us keep up this work!

What Is A Nursing Honor Guard?

You’re likely to be familiar with this idea from military funerals.  The intent of an honor guard is to stand in reverence and gratitude for the service of another through their lives.  Many nurses give a tremendous amount of their time, energy, effort and love to their practice and patients through their lives.  For these nurses, for their families and in the spirit of giving back, we wish to provide a service in Southern Maine to stand in their honor at funerals and celebrations of life.

For more information on this idea as it has been done other places, please feel free to read this article.

If you have specific questions about the Honor Guard or would like to be involved, please email:

Please know we are not currently available for services YET,  but hopefully soon, every contribution helps!

The National Health Care Decisions Day 2019 Symposium Starts In: