Advance Care Planning 101

Karl Steinberg, MD
Karl Steinberg, MD

Advance Care Planning is a process aimed at allowing competent adults to guide their medical care at times when they are able to speak for themselves. By knowing ones wishes, family and health care providers can be relieved of a challenging moral burden related to difficult health care decisions.
The MISSION of the San Diego Coalition for Compassionate care is to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans by informing, counseling, and encouraging our healthcare professionals and the public to share their knowledge, goals, and priorities.
We promote timely advance care planning and understanding of medical treatment options for chronic and serious illness, including palliative care, across the lifespan.
Attendees will:

  • Differentiate among Advance Directives, Advance Care Planning, and POLST.
  • Appreciate the benefits of planning ahead
  • Identify barriers to completing Advance Health Care Directives
  • Learn some of the terms used in Advance Care Planning
  • Discuss some of the specific medical treatments people may want or not want to receive

This talk is geared for a non-clinical audience, but all attendees are welcome.

Dr. Karl Steinberg is a hospice and palliative medicine specialist and geriatrician, who serves as a nursing home, hospice, and home health agency medical director in the San Diego area and has been medical director of Hospice by the Sea in Solana Beach since 1995. He got his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Harvard, got his MD degree from The Ohio State University, and completed his residency in family medicine at UCSD. He is active in many professional organizations and is a past chair of the Coalitions for Compassionate Care of California and San Diego County, currently vice president of National POLST. His professional interests include advance care planning, palliative care, and bioethics.

Jacques Burgering
Jacques Burgering, Intuitive Healer & Shamanic Practicioner​

The journey we go when dying is the same as when we go to sleep each night, except when dying we follow an extended version of it. Dying, in the Toltec tradition (as in other indigenous and Buddhist traditions) is seen as a transition, not as an end. It is therefore considered important that we die consciously, as we have tried to live consciously. Between our physical and spiritual death there is a window of approx. 40-45 minutes during which we can make the choice of how we would like to continue our journey. To prepare for this process of conscious dying at the end of our (current physical) life, the Toltecs developed from experience a practice of falling asleep while awake. This practice takes about 40-45 minutes before we can reach a place called Cochitzinco, “the venerable place of sleeping without dreams” as my teacher Sergio Magana calls it; it is the place where we can be present and create the next step of our continuing journey. No experience necessary, as we all go to sleep each night!

The workshop of reaching Cochitzinco at the Beautiful Dying Expo consists of two parts:

  • Part one: A 30 minute basic introduction to the principles and cosmology of the Toltecs, and an overview of the practice itself.
  • Part two: One hour workshop, consisting of a 40-45 minute practice of falling asleep while awake, with an opportunity to share experiences afterwards.

Jacques strongly suggests to participants of the workshop practice that they be present for the 30 minute introduction


Jacques Burgering, a native from the Netherlands, worked with shamans from the Andes (Kichwa/Qu’ero) and Mexico (Toltec/Maya). With their permission he created an intuitive healing practice in New York City and recently on the West Coast as well. <br>Jacques feels deep gratitude towards the many indigenous healers, teachers and Mother Earth who generously shared their wisdom that facilitated his healing and spiritual growth.
He feels very privileged that his teacher Sergio Magana gave him permission to teach the ancient Toltec/Mexhika ways of healing and dreaming, here and abroad, and he is excited to share this knowledge and experience at the Beautiful Dying Expo during this time of transition into the Sixth Sun.

pat mclendon
Pat McClendon, RN, Author, Caritas and EOL Coach.

“As EOL workers, how we get in touch with ourselves can be a mystery. Here’s a tool that helps us live more fully.”

“Death and dying have always been sacred ground in my life, and as a nursing leader.”

Pat McClendon, RN, Author, Caritas and End-of-Life Coach is formerly a nurse leader in healthcare organizations for over 30 years.

She holds a Doctorate in nursing practice, Masters in nursing administration, Bachelors in nursing and anthropology – Universities of Colorado, San Diego, Oklahoma, and EOL Coach and Doula certification – Conscious Dying Institute, December 2020. 

Her book: Getting Real About Caring, 2019, AuthorHouse explores conscious leadership and authentic caring in the healthcare industry.

Claire O'Berry
Claire O'Berry, Co-Founder at Dying Your Way

Join Dying Your Way Co-Founder, Claire O’Berry, to learn more about holistic options available at the end of life. It may be hard to conceive that dying a natural death could be considered a “holistic alternative” to achieve a good death, but sadly dying a natural death is the exception rather than the rule.

We are all physical, emotional, mental beings having a spiritual experience, and from womb to tomb we should all seek the best integrated, interdisciplinary care available to us … certainly when facing a possible life-threatening diagnosis.

Let’s consider our own end of life plan, start a conversation and be curious together. DYW certified End Of Life Doulas will answer your questions in the panel discussion to follow.

Claire O’Berry, Co-Founder of Dying Your Way took on the responsibility of caring for both of her parents as they approached the end of their lives over a six year period of time. Being largely unprepared for such an all consuming task, as so many people are, the whole process became an enormous learning experience.

The culmination of this undertaking was too have both her parents die in their own time, at home surrounded by loving family and friends. It was a good death for all concerned.

Following on from that experience many people sought Claire’s help to replicate that experience for themselves or family members, which she did for a number of years. Claire undertook further study to turn an avocation into a vocation by becoming a certified End of Life Doula.

Claire and Terry Mepham met in upstate New York, while volunteering at an international centre for the study and practice of the ancient traditions and philosophies of yoga and meditation.

Together they travelled to Australia and New Zealand where they stayed for over two months with Terry’s brother who was losing a long fight with cancer. During this time Terry became aware of the amount of fear of the unknown that often accompanies someone who is dying. Through his own spiritual understanding and research into the process of life and death he was drawn to help alleviate that fear in others.

Claire realized while traveling and helping others, that a lot of what she did as an End of Life Doula she could do remotely online. Even to the extent of face to face consultations via video conferencing. It was through her inspiration that Dying Your Way was started. It is through Terry’s business and technical abilities that it happened.

Since then with a solid and dedicated team, the Dying Your Way website and DYW Portal Program was brought into being and launched.

Now married the two have combined their compassion and understanding, to offer death literacy and hope to thousands across the globe.

Danielle 'Dannie' Engwert, Artist and Author

This workshop has been successfully presented as a live interactive experience as well as on the Beautiful Dying Collective’s Insight. This first time virtual experience will contain the following:

  • An introduction of presenter Danielle Engwert, known as Dannie, author of Good Grief, a collection of mandalas and the story of how their creation relieved grief for the creator.
  •  A presentation of the book Good Grief, both the text and technique with an invitation to create your own mandala. Step-by-step instruction will be given on how to use the items found around your home.
  • There will be an opportunity to comment and ask questions of Dannie and she will share information to obtain a signed copy of Good Grief with a free mandala included.

My experience as an Educator, Area Director for American Cancer Society, Innkeeper, Greeting Card Designer and Assistant to Director of Marion Art Center came in real handy as I wrote Good Grief. I am now able to offer you a technique that will help alleviate the pain of grief and offer a way back to joyful living.

“Perhaps repetitive motions slow one down
enough to let the mind move more easily,
rather than crazily, as it can when plowing
through life or staggering under grief.
Art moves slowly and exercises feelings we
often ignore completely or even deny altogether.”
Adapted from Robyn Carr
Wild Man Creek

Valerie Armand
Valerie Armand, LPN, End-of-Life Doula, Founder of Exiting Gracefully

Join Valerie as we discuss the “H” word, debunking myths and misconceptions surrounding Hospice Care.  A perfect opportunity to improve our death literacy and gain knowledge to make empowered decisions, when you or your loved one are not in a crisis situation. Topics of discussion will include: What is Hospice? Who qualifies? Who pays? When is the right time? There will also be an opportunity for interactive Q&A, and links to valuable resources geared toward exploring and documenting your wishes safely and accurately.

ValerieArmand is an LPN and Certified End of Life Doula with over 20 years of experience serving others in a variety of roles within Healthcare. Founder of Exiting Gracefully, Affiliate of Dying Your Way, and Advance Care Planning Educator with MIDEO, her passion lies in removing the stigma that society has placed on facing our mortality. She provides consulting, education and mentoring as a means of empowering others, helping them navigate their own unique journey.

How to Connect Directly to The Other Side

Ginny Colarusso
Ginny Colarusso, Owner of Amp Yoga Studio

In this presentation you will learn tips to open up your internal senses to be able to receive signs, symbols and messages from the other side. I will guide you into a deep state of meditation using hypnosis techniques to connect to your loved ones for healing and grief relief.

Ginny Colarusso, E-RYT 500, Past Life Regressionist, Reiki Healer, and Light Worker connecting souls directly to spirit, has spent the last twelve years dedicating her life to serve and heal her community. Trained by some of the best in New Jersey; Lindsey Sass, Tarra Madore, DC, and Ricardo Da Cunha, shehas been on a spiritual quest for over twenty years. Featured on Dr. Oz in May 2019 for her ability to connect with her deceased father and her passion for helping others open up to their own innateabilities to feel the connection, release grief, find acceptance as well as their soul purpose. She is also the owner and head instructor at Amp Yoga Studio in Springfield, New Jersey.

Roger Moore
Roger Moore, Medical Hypnotherapist

You don’t have to be a trained hypnosis professional to use mindfulness hypnosis techniques for yourself or someone else who is at the end of their life.

In this hour-long presentation, you’ll learn easy-to-use yet powerful techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, help decrease pain and help create hope and joy in each precious moment left in life. Preparing for a beautiful death is very much in your power, and hypnosis can help at the end of life in a sensitive, meaningful way

Roger Moore has been in the profession of counseling and human services since 1973. He holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Counseling Psychology and has more than 9 years of graduate studies in Behavior Science. Roger has been in private practice specializing as a Medical Counselor and Hypnotherapist since 1997. He is the author of Becoming Slender For Life.

There is a long, established history of the efficacy of hypnosis in the field of medicine. Roger offers medical hypnosis that can help people who are living with/recovering from Covid Long-haulers syndrome, cancer, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and for people who are at the end-of-life.

POLST Training Webinar

Teressa 'TV' Vaughn
Teressa 'TV' Vaughn, MPT, MHA Advance Care Planning Consultant

Having a conversation with a seriously ill patient about their health care preferences is an important and necessary part of good medical care. POLST can provide structure for those important discussions between you and your patients.

The San Diego Coalition for Compassionate Care presents this POLST webinar for nursing facility staff, clinicians, and clinicians in training to develop and enhance skills for meaningful conversations with patients and families about their goals. Attendees will learn:

  • How to have a skillful POLST conversation
  • How to properly complete the POLST document
  • How to utilize the e-POLST registry
  • Current POLST updates and policies.

Teressa Vaughn is an Advance Care Planning (ACP) Consultant for Sharp Healthcare where she assist patients with advanced illness and/or advanced age complete their advance healthcare directive, discuss goals of care, as well as caregiving options that meet their need. She also provides community education on advance care planning, Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), and the End of Life Option Act (EOLOA). She is an active member of the San Diego Coalition for Compassionate Care (SDCCC).

Social Security: With You Through Life's Journey

Jeffrey Rodriguez
Jeffrey Rodriguez, SSA Public Affairs Specialist​

Discover the important Social Security program rules for disability, retirement and survivor benefits. 

Jeffrey has been with the Social Security Administration for over eleven years; serving as the Public Affairs Specialist in San Diego and Orange County for the last six years. Jeffrey hosts a weekly television show “Social Security Today”. The show airs on Laguna Woods Cable Television Channel 6, covering important Social Security program rules for disability, retirement and survivor benefits, as well as keeping viewers informed on current Social Security issues.Jeffrey is a member of the San Francisco Region Management Association, as well as the Hispanic Affairs Advisory Council.Jeffrey received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wheaton College in Illinois, and a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Azusa Pacific University in California.

Supplemental Advance Directive for Dementia Care

Robert Rivas
Robert Rivas, General Counsel Final Exit Network, Inc.​

Robert will be presenting FEN’s Supplemental Advance Directive for Dementia care, or SADD, which directs the application of Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking, or VSED, when a patient has lost all their former character and personality to the brain disorder. The object is to stop nursing homes from enticing the patient to be hand-fed and hydrated for years.

A long, slow descent into dementia is every Baby Boomer’s worst nightmare. Final Exit Network, a national group at the forefront of the movement for the right to death with dignity, has developed an advance directive to help contend with the loss of dignity near the end of dementia.

Robert Rivas, the general counsel for Final Exit Network, first became involved in the Death-WIth-Dignity movement in 1996 as counsel in a joint ACLU-Hemlock Society project that led to a landmark Florida physician-aid-in-dying case, Krischer v. McIver. More recently, as general counsel to Final Exit Network, he has defended the Network and its Exit Guides in civil and criminal cases in Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota. He is now spearheading Final Exit Network’s Supplemental Advance Directive for Dementia Care Initiative.

Talking to Your Children About Death

Rachel Jonlynn
Rachel Jonlynn, Founder of End Joys

In this 90 minute panel we will discuss how to support your child through the death and dying process of a loved one. You will leave this panel feeling more confident about how to explain death to your child, support them through their emotions, as well as experiencing your own grief. We will also share multiple healing practices and tools to support the entire family through loss.

Healing Through Grief is what Rachel Jonlynn is all about. Rachel specializes in end-of-life ceremonies for your loved ones and pets that pass away while providing tools to help children through acceptance and letting go. She works with the whole family creating intimate ceremonies to bring healing and honor to the life and death shared together, with joy, movement, care and love.

Rachel is devoted to her purpose and is showing up as a new leader in  the dying and death community. Death and loss are too difficult to deal with alone. Rachel guides rituals and ceremonies that fit your spiritual values and help you and your family find a path of completion and healing.

The Life and Death Challenge

Jenny Turner
Jennifer Turner, Founder of The Life and Death Project

The Life and Death Project helps compassionate individuals plan for death and live a happy and meaningful life. It is a online course focused on creating a life worth living and completing a comprehensive end of life plan.

Jennifer’s life philosophy is centered on living your best life with an intimate relationship with mortality and planning for death to support people and families at the end of life. As the founder of Holistic End of Life Care, Jennifer focuses on helping others create end of life care plans and live life with mindfulness and purpose. 

As a RN working in Hospice and Emergency medicine and certified Life Purpose Coach, Jennifer has helped hundreds of people at the end of their life. She has experienced first hand the suffering that occurs due to unnecessary and fruitless medical interventions that could have been avoided if the patient had made end of life care plans.

Through The Life and Death Project, Jennifer helps compassionate people identify values, complete an individualized End of Life Care Plan and communicate those plans with their loved ones – providing peace of mind for all. Jennifer makes it simple and enjoyable. Through providing education and support, she coaches people to take ownership over their quality of life. She continues to empower people to heal from the past and supports them to live presently and fully until the end of life. 

Jennifer was diagnosed with the progressive Autoimmune disorder, Scleroderma in 2013. She became acutely aware of the importance of creating the life of her dreams and the urgency to make end of life plans. She enjoys traveling and experiencing the most she can as her health continues to decline. Jennifer is continually learning and growing in letting go of the past and creating new opportunities for happiness and joy. Jennifer currently lives in Burbank, California with her spouse and their three fur babies.

"UNTOLD" Live Performance and Discussion

Dr. Jillian Tullis
Elizabeth Coplan
Elizabeth Coplan

Through a live performance of the play Untold attendees observe the misunderstood tales of child loss. Dr. Jillian Tullis, professor at University of San Diego, discusses the communication challenges and grief that arise from child loss, specifically miscarriage and still birth.

UNTOLD: A Stillbirth Story

Play synopsis: When Faith Morgan comes to the hospital to deliver her baby, she knows he is stillborn, but does not know the full-extent of what “giving birth to death.” With the assistance of Dr. Audrey Armstrong and Nurse Paul George, Faith goes through the physical pain of childbirth and rides out her conflicted emotions while Dr. Armstrong and Nurse George relive their own stories of child loss. Together they come to a determination of how best to honor this baby.

Jillian A. Tullis, PhD is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego. Her teaching and research interests focus on health communication, specifically communication about dying and death in healthcare settings. Tullis’ scholarship used qualitative methods to study such topics as hospice team communication, tumor boards, spirituality, dying, death, quality of life, and a “good death”

Elizabeth Coplan is a marketing and public relations specialist, a playwright, educator, and speaker, who confronts end-of-life issues. In 2016, Coplan created the non-profit Grief Dialogues. She uses theatre, the ultimate empathy generator, as the artistic expression to open new conversations about dying, death, and grief. In 2019 she joined forces with the Palliative Care team at a Seattle Regional Hospital to create a series of short plays followed by a moderated discussion to help health care providers, care givers, therapists, and administrators, engage in healing, constructive discussions about the ethical challenges and stressors and to build empathy and compassion within the medical profession. Grief Dialogues Health Care Education is presented throughout the U.S. Coplan is also the Executive Producer of the short, award-winning film, 8AM by Mark Harvey Levine.

Warning: The play contains scenes of childbirth and may trigger feelings of depression and grief especially among those who have suffered child loss.

Ben Janzen
Rev. Ben Janzen, Chaplain, Bereavement Services Manager VITAS

The goal of this workshop is to seek competence in cultural values and perspectives that are different from your own, particularly for healthcare workers and volunteers, to ensure that we provide culturally appropriate interactions with patients and their families.

This workshop introduces hospice as a philosophy of care. It will feature an interdisciplinary approach to end of life care.

Rev. Ben Janzen, Dr. Theol., Ph.D., APBCC, is the Chaplain Bereavement Services Manager for VITAS Healthcare. Ben grew up in Germany. Upon finishing High School, he joined the Franciscan Capuchin Order of the Catholic Church where he enjoyed his education as a Catholic Theologian within the Franciscan tradition. When he received his doctorate in Theology, he became a lecturer at the Franciscan College for Philosophy and Theology in Muenster, Germany. His love for Star Trek and anything SciFi brought him to the USA.
He studied comparative literature at UC Riverside working on the role of Spirituality and Religion in Star Trek and graduated with a PhD in Comparative Literature in 2006. A year earlier, he met his now husband Sal and consequently left the Order. Ben has been working with VITAS Healthcare, San Diego, as a Chaplain since 2010. He was trained at VITAS, worked as a resident and a team chaplain for five years. In 2015 he took the position of Bereavement Services Manager.
Ben and Sal have a dog, Sammy, and enjoy cooking, baking, and anything having to do with food.

Workshops Presented by Deanna Cochran:

Deanna Cochran, Hospice RN

Someone does not have to accept their dying to “die well.” Deanna will share some insights on her 20 year journey as a hospice RN and EOL Doula. There is so much said about accepting your death; that’s great when you are not dying. But what if you are, and you truly want to live? That is a journey for which most of us, who want to companion, are not skilled. There are some considerations to think about if you want to be of true support.

50% of us die with hospice–that is a lot of people dying NOT with hospice support. You must know about one of the best ways to help reduce suffering in the seriously ill if you are going to be serving them. If you think palliative care is something people receive when there is nothing more to be done, don’t miss this session.

Deanna Cochran, Hospice RN, Amazon bestselling author and creator of the original End-of-Life Doula Certificate Program, has been serving families since 2000. She also provides end-of-life professional sensitivity training, custom builds innovative doula programs for hospices and healthcare organizations and offers companion services to people facing dying through her Grief CareDoula® program. She is Chair of the End-of-Life Doula Advisory Council within the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and is a founding member of the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance. Deanna’s intention is to bridge services and care for people using doulas and other new roles within mainstream health and death care, educate about palliative care prior to a terminal diagnosis and bring unity between people interested in reducing suffering at the end of life.

Workshops presented by Vicky Roncero

Victoria Roncero
Vicky Roncero, Founder Roncero Reiki

This first workshop is on how you can clear your Chakras, so you can let the light come through you, to be the source of light and love for someone in their final days. 

All to often, when a loved one is dying, we want to “do” something. Doctors and nurses are trained to save lives and when the end is in sight and there is nothing they can do, there is an energy of somehow “failing” and that is when light is needed most. A lightworker’s role is to be the beacon of light that leads the way home. It is not about “doing” at that stage, it is about “being”. We are human beings and we need to be able to hold space for the ones we love, when it is time for them to transition. This is not easy, as we are so conditioned to do. Reiki teaches you how to hold space for others and it is a very useful and important tool.

How to create a healing grid for yourself and your family, to use when someone is ill or passing and needs your support. When many come together in peace, the healing energy is profound. Creating a healing grid is a powerful tool to use when someone is very ill or a family is grieving. You can make a grid from cardboard and you can arrange the names of all the family members and friends who are praying for the person who is ill. You can set an organized time that you will all send healing and prayers and collectively look at a picture of the grid and send the energy together. It is healing for everyone involved and excellent when everyone can’t physically be together.

Vicky Roncero is a Usui Reiki Master Teacher and Writer/Producer, with a practice in Upper
Montclair, New Jersey. She has been working with clients to control stress and anxiety, heal
from injury and illness and maintain wellness through Reiki.
She was recently selected as the winner of Montclair State University’s Startup Pitch
Competition for REIKIDS, an innovative children’s mindfulness program she has created,
combining her Reiki work with over two decades of work in children’s television.
Vicky has been a writer/producer and voice over artist for many TV networks including; Sesame
Workshop, Nickelodeon, Lifetime Television and AMC Networks.
She has always been drawn to energy work and feels that everyone’s energy tells a story.
Regulating our energy helps us make the choices that create the next chapters of our lives.
She is currently working on projects that infuse her writing and producing skills along with her
Reiki training, to teach Reiki to others.
She is also doing some freelance writing for Deepak Chopra’s digital team.
For the past several months, she has been offering free Reiki classes on Facebook live and
hopes to transition this work into a television program. She believes everyone can learn simple
Reiki tools and techniques to connect with their inner light and ease stress.
She has recently teamed with a music composer/sound healer, in a collaboration called
“hear2heal”, creating customized meditations, utilizing her writing/reiki and voice over skills
She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband and two children.

More Workshop Presenters and Full Schedule Coming Soon...