Reports on the 6th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference, March 16 - 19, 2005
By Ednin Hamzah, MD
CEO/Medical Director Hospis Malaysia
Council Member Asia Pacific Hospice Network (APHN)
Member of the IAHPC Board of Directors
Seoul 2005 was the venue of the 6th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference hosted by the Korean Society for Hospice and Palliative Care in collaboration with Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network. An attendance of nearly 1200 delegates from all over the world was a testament to an attractive programme developed by the organising committee led by Professor Kyung Shik Lee.
A theme of ‘Changing Society and Human Life with Hospice Palliative Care’ set the scene for the proceedings for the days ahead. Although there is great variability in the Palliative Care settings in the countries of the Asia Pacific, the conference brought together common themes on issues and the sharing of knowledge. There was a wonderful pre-conference programme where Kyung Shik Lee, Cynthia Goh and Ian Maddocks addressed the theme of the conference.
The Asia perspective of many palliative care issues was apparent through many of the presentations. It was enlightening to be made aware that problems and solutions may be presented and dealt with in many different ways in order to achieve the desired outcomes. The presentations both oral and in poster form on cultural, psychosocial and ethical issues were particularly interesting. The 4 plenary and 10 symposium sessions covered a wide range of palliative care topics and issues including controversies.
The conference also cultivated a spirit of togetherness and networking for many in the region. Many palliative care services in the region may be working in relative isolation.The awareness of APHN 2005 allowed many to begin to search for resources to improve themselves. The wonderful culture and hospitality of the Korean people throughout the conference made for a most memorable meeting.