Travel date: May 23, 2019
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 16th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
Origin: Qezon City, Philippines / Destination: Berlin, Germany
This was my 1st overseas conference. I got to meet different people from different parts of the world and so I was able to appreciate how palliative care is done in other countries. Spending time with other people who share the same interest was fantastic. I discovered how they all started the practice and how they try to expand it in their own territories. I realized that we share similar struggles in the field.
I made new friends that I can network with, share future experiences with and exchange workable ideas to further improve on and promote the practice with. The diverse topics on pediatric care, end of life care in older people with dementia and frailty, the integration of oncology and palliative care and the sessions that tackled spirituality were most interesting for me. I appreciated the different themes in the poster presentations as well, they served as inspiration for possible research in my setting and to see if the results would come out the same would be intriguing. Lastly, I especially appreciated the fact that participants were not all just doctors and nurses but were from other members of the multidisciplinary team – social workers, physical therapists, psychologists.
My experience from attending the conference has been very promising and I am inspired to continue getting more people involved in palliative care. I am challenged to expand the service and to encourage other members of the multidisciplinary team to play a more active role in palliative care. In our country, so far only doctors have formal training in palliative care. Others -- nurses, caregivers, social workers, physical/occupational therapists, to name a few, discover through experience, learn informally and do not really practice the approach constantly. I saw how oncologists are open to palliative care and have become hopeful that in time more oncologists in my country would do the same.
I hope there are more opportunities (especially for Filipinos) to receive the scholarship. I shared the poster I presented with a co-author and only one of us received the grant. Still I am very grateful for the support I received, for the opportunity to represent my country, to meet the other scholars, be able to exchange ideas and experiences and especially the opportunity to meet and speak with the big names in palliative care.
It was a good experience to meet other people from other parts of the world who share the same interest in Palliative care as I do. I realized that other countries share the same struggles of making the service known and more accepted. Knowing that the problems we encounter are no different from their experiences has encouraged me to keep motivated in my goal to increase awareness on palliative care in my country. Also, as I got to know other members of the multidisciplinary team who practice the approach, I appreciated more their roles/contributions and the importance of having interdisciplinary care providing holistic support for the terminally ill. In our country, only doctors mostly practice palliative care. After the conference, I am now more determined to encourage other members of the multidisciplinary team – nurses, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, spiritual mentors/leaders and the like – in my country to appreciate, embrace and practice palliative care.