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Cumberlands’ professor Gina Bowlin sits on panel at Hospice program on spirituality at the end of life


Gina Bowlin, chair of Cumberlands’ Health Services department, with Alice Tremaine, chaplain with Hospice of the Bluegrass. Bowlin was invited by Tremaine to sit on a panel on “Spirituality at the End of Life,” a program sponsored by Hospice Foundation of America and a part of a series on living with grief.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – When University of the Cumberlands’ professor Gina Bowlin was asked by Hospice of the Bluegrass to be part of a panel during their April 27 “Spirituality at the End of Life” program, she didn’t hesitate.

“I love Hospice Care,” Bowlin said of the end-of-life-care program that employees a team of healthcare professionals and social workers to aid patients at the end of their life, and their families, helping them not only with medical needs but also with emotional and spiritual ones.

Bowlin was one of a four-person panel that took part in the program, part of Hospice Foundation of America’s series on living with grief. She was asked by Alice Tremaine, chaplain for Hospice of the Bluegrass and facilitator of the “Spirituality” program, to take part because of her background with Hospice in social work and counseling and her research in spirituality as it relates to social work.

Bowlin was a social worker and bereavement counselor with Hospice of the Bluegrass from 2001 to 2005, and she is still interested in volunteering with Hospice, as time allows. Bowlin is the chair and an assistant professor in University of the Cumberlands’ Human Services department, and is also working on a dissertation for a doctor of education degree.

Also a full-time wife and mom, Bowlin is a busy woman, but she still makes time for things she believes are important, like Hospice. The topic on spiritual care at the end of life is a big reason she agreed to sit on the panel.

“If a patient is dying, their spiritual needs must be addressed, and we specifically as social workers, we’re taught to assess spirituality simply as a resource, that’s pretty much where it stops,” explains Bowlin. “In Hospice, the spirituality is as much a focus as is nursing or as is social work.”

While Bowlin was on the panel to offer helpful advice and answer questions of healthcare and other professionals, she left with new insight in end-of-life care, such as in music therapy, a practice that was discussed in the “Spirituality” program.

“Once I get this dissertation stuff under my belt, I’m going to try that,” said Bowlin, of music therapy with patients who can no longer go to church or hear music in the traditional settings they once could.

The program was open to community members, clergy and healthcare professionals, with the latter receiving continuing education credit for attending. It was hosted at the Corbin Center for Technology, and Hospice of the Bluegrass plans to host another “Living with Grief” program next year.