California initiative aims to transform care for dying

Through the Whole Person Care Initiative, all the Catholic bishops of California, the California Catholic Conference and the Alliance of Catholic Health Care have come together to create a statewide commitment to transform palliative and end-of-life care overall.

The initiative has already been presented during a conference at the Vatican, and the Diocese of Orange, California, helped hold a conference around end-of-life care in San Diego in October 2018, which included a workshop held by McNerney.

“A big part of this effort is to just help people to start having the conversation because we know nobody wants to have these conversations,” said Greg Walgenbach, director of life, justice and peace at the Orange Diocese. “We don’t want to think about death. We don’t want to talk about end of life. But we know it’s coming.”

Over the next two to three months, the program will start rolling out to parishes, said Lori Dangberg, vice president for the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, a public policy and advocacy organization of California’s Catholic health systems and hospitals.

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