Travel date: May 23, 2019
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 16th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
Origin: Kampala, Uganda / Destination: Berlin, Germany
I last attended this meeting in 2011 and I was impressed at the progress of research in palliative care and the high standard of research. I came back home motivated to do more research in palliative care of high quality. I got many research ideas of topics that are feasible in our context that have not been researched before and whose findings would be very relevant to our practice, some of these even seemed low cost research, which we can easily do in our setting ( e.g research on coping strategies in palliative care, burnout among palliative care providers, palliative care in intensive care etc). I learned a lot and got recent information on symptom control which information may be difficult to get in journals particularly if it is published in journals that need subscription. I was also happy to get solutions to common clinical issues that we are puzzled with in our day to day practice for example there was a poster with newly formulated guidelines that clearly showed how to managed lymphedema at different stages which my clinical team can adapt as well as one on malignant wounds. Our team is interested in palliative care for non-cancer conditions and we are in initial stages of building evidence base for this and I was excited to see a number of posters and presentations on this and I got more ideas on what research that we could take forward. I am on a doctoral committee of one of my colleagues who is doing a PhD on palliative care in renal failure, a new area of research in our setting and there was a lot of information on this at the conference which I got to help me support her with her PhD. We are also planning to extend palliative care to the emergency department and the intensive care units and there was information on this on several posters that will be helpful for us. My colleagues in other disciplines have been asking me about use of cannabis and I got extensive information on this in the conference which I can confidently explain. This meeting was timely for me because after long hours of seeing patients and teaching palliative care, it becomes routine, the meeting rekindled the fire to become a better palliative care provider, researcher and advocate especially after inspirational talks from world renown palliative care providers who spoke at the plenary sessions. I have learnt many new concepts in palliative care and I came home with a list of topics to read on. I was fascinated by the plenary talk on the language of dying, this was new to me. I have always been interested in geriatric palliative care and I learned a lot on this subject and was also able to network with other conference attendees with whom we exchanged contacts for possible collaborations in the future especially in geriatric palliative care and other areas.
I work in an academic setting and a national referral hospital setting. I will use the new knowledge I got from the conference in teaching of students both undergraduate medical students and postgraduate students doctors/residents as our model of care encourages generalist palliative care to be provided by all doctors and nurses whom we train. I also train specialist palliative care nurses and clinical officers and I got new information to impart to these during my teaching sessions. Students particularly postgraduate student doctors/residents want research evidence for whatever care they give and I got a lot of research evidence to support palliative care interventions which I will share in my clinical teaching and lectures and I believe these current and future doctors and specialists will implement this knowledge and skills in their care for patients. Some of these students will be the doctors in charge of wards in the near future therefore giving them this knowledge will help advance palliative care in whatever setting they will work. Also some postgraduate students are interested in doing research in palliative care but would like guidance on research topics and at the congress I got research ideas I can suggest for them to work on. The new information I acquired will also be crucial at interdisciplinary team meetings when we discuss with other medical professionals on patient care, in an academic setting. The information on palliative care for non-cancer conditions will support us in advocating for extending palliative care to other conditions other than cancer including organ failure. Many times when we are advocating for integration of palliative care in hospitals which do not have cancer patients we are asked for the evidence of importance of palliative care and the extra benefit of palliative care gives to a hospitalized patient without cancer and I got evidence to support the need and impact of palliative care in settings such as intensive care units and those with organ failure.
I am happy with the travelling scholarship I received and I appreciate it very much.
The main need in our country currently is to have sustainable palliative care services. Most of the palliative care services are donor funded and with less donor funds currently many services are facing a danger of not continuing in the future and many palliative care providers have been laid off work. The knowledge and skills I acquired will help me in training health professionals in palliative care to ensure that they provide generalist palliative care and as a result integrate of palliative care into their normal care. Advocacy is made easier among those familiar with a concept and we hope that these trained health professionals and academic leads will demand and advocate for palliative care services for their patients and students and also advocate for palliative care posts to be integrated in the staffing structures of the hospital and university for sustainability. In an academic setting, research evidence that demonstrates impact of palliative care is an important tool in advocacy and I will use the vast evidence