Travel date: May 18, 2022
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 12th World Research Congress of the EAPC
Origin: Mbarara, Uganda / Destination: Vilvoorde, Belgium
The three days away from my routine duties to be able to focus on the online plenary and abstract presentation sessions has been a priceless experience. I have been exposed to so much that has developed in palliative care that I did not know about. The opening ceremony presentation challenged me to think about whether we are paying the due attention to issues of standards in our palliative care practice. The presenter also challenged me about the critical need for palliative care practitioners and administrators to continuously seek for new knowledge and not stick to what we have always known. There were other helpful topics that were discussed like the need for palliative sedation, and the need for more research on opioids and analgesia because there are people out there still suffering from intractable pain. I was also impressed by the presentations that pointed out the importance of spirituality in the bereavement process of the patient and the family members.
The Research congress was excellent, full of information that will help palliative care practitioners, administrators and academicians move forward to greater heights in palliative care provision.
I want to do two things. I want to share the presentations that directly relate to our situations in practice here in my place of work. I want my colleagues to here for themselves what is being said about palliative care today. I hope this will stir up the conversation about standards and help us begin to change the way we work and prompt research in various areas of our work.
Secondly, I want to engage the Hospital team so as to find a way to share these advancements in palliative care research and practice. I work in a hospice that is a few kilometers away from the main regional referral hospital. The hospital team depends on us to provide palliative care but we are a small team and cannot handle the need in the hospital on our own. My plan is to engage the hospital team beginning with making a presentation on pain assessment and management in the paediatric Oncology ward to the nurses and doctors working there. This will help open the team up to consider building their own capacity to assess and manage pain. Also, the hospital may appreciate the need for palliative care and participate in building capacity of its staff to provide palliative care on their own
It would be nice if the online participants at a research congress could be allowed into the networking sessions as well. I was unable to attend all the breakfast networking sessions. All the other sessions were easily accessible to me.
Our main needs as we try to implement palliative care in my country include:
• Very few physicians and general practitioners interested in palliative care. This means the advocacy is stifled. Doctors are the best people to convert doctors to support palliative care
• Limited research is going on to figure out how to improve our local situation regarding pain assessment and management in palliative care
• Many people in the community think that receiving palliative care means hastened death, which is not true. Palliative care is all about improving quality of life of the suffering
• There is a huge knowledge gap among health care practitioners regarding palliative care this includes the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists etc. There is also a need for other professional to support the provision of quality palliative care as required. For example, social workers, spiritual leaders, occupational therapists to mention but a few
The main thing to do to overcome these barriers is to disseminate knowledge. The second thing is to act on this knowledge by using it to advocate for what is right for the patient and family.