Grants in Action

2021; Volume 22, No 11, November

These IAHPC Scholars attended the 17th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), a virtual event, in early October. This represents half of the group; reports from the other half will be published in the December Newsletter.

Funding Strategies, Forging Relationships, Spurring My Research:
The EAPC congress had it all!

Dr. Eric Nagaonlé Somé, general practitioner in palliative care with specialty in epidemiology, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

This EAPC congress was first palliative care event I have attended; everything was new for me and it was a tremendous learning opportunity.

My main objective was to develop professional relationships with others so that my team and I could keep learning in our daily practice by being able to ask experienced practitioners for their insights when facing issues in our clinical management of palliative care patients.

Another objective was to discuss effective strategies to launch and sustain a palliative care unit in the context of having ideas and a few personnel, but nothing else. Fruitful conversations at the junior forum and with staff at the International Observatory on End-of-Life Care will be leveraged to move forward with our new—and first—Burkina Faso Palliative Care Unit.

Our main challenges to establishing a unit are the lack of training and funding. In this congress, I learned how to effectively raise funds using high-profile figures, whether or not they know people who have had palliative care. I have committed to prepare a fundraising plan based on this concept and submit it to the administration of the Clinique du Bon Sauveur health center for improvement and implementation. I also obtained information about courses on palliative care, including MOOC courses, that will be helpful to build capacity within our team.

Finally, as a researcher with no experience in palliative care, joining the junior forum will speed up implementation of my research ambitions and, I hope, will help foster a research network to address palliative care issues specific to African and low- and middle-income settings.

Unexpected Benefits of a Virtual Congress

Dr. Vilma Tripodoro, palliative medicine physician, Cadiz, Buenos Aires

I lack the words to describe the fantastic experience I had. The knowledge I gained from sharing with my colleagues from different countries and learning from the European research expertise was beneficial for both my team and for me.

The virtual platform was challenging. However, it was a perfect setting to explore my own skills and think about pursuing my future research development in Argentina. Also, as I felt more relaxed at home, I explored more posters and oral presentations than when I attended a previous congress.

The contacts I made will allow me to network and collaborate with experienced partners for future research projects, which will advance the objectives of public health palliative care in my country. For the last three years, I have been chairing a research network in Argentina (Red-InPal).

This outstanding congress links us to the rest of the world. It is amazing.

Poster: End-of-Life Care, Dying and Bereavement during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Latin American Perspective

‘Collaboration is key to drive change’

Dr. Zee Nee Lim, palliative medicine physician, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur

Attending the EAPC congress has given me the opportunity to learn from other researchers, and sparked new ideas for future research projects. I learned that collaboration with partners in future research with a strong focus on the development of palliative care services in the community is key to drive change and improvement.

Poster/Oral presentation: A Qualitative Study on Palliative Care Nurses’ Experiences on the Use of Subcutaneous Medications and Subcutaneous Infusions via Syringe Driver at Home.

Useful Development Monitoring Framework at WHO Session

Mr. Ahmed Mahmoud Kassab, Master’s in Public Health, Beirut, Lebanon

As a quality and research officer working in a home hospice organization in Lebanon (SANAD), my duties are to collect and report on both operational and clinical indicators, and to develop palliative or hospice care models for external organizations. The World Health Organization pre-congress session on expanding access to quality palliative care worldwide introduced a new palliative care development monitoring framework with 18 strategic indicators for different levels of development, from initial through to high level. The following are components of the framework.

This framework includes aspects of palliative care that will be helpful in my daily work as a quality and research officer. Moreover, these indicators can be used to change and amend policies at the national level.

Presentations at the congress introduced several articles and tools that are helpful to my work in palliative/hospice care. Moreover, this conference hosted multiple palliative care service providers from different countries within the European Union, which broadened my insight into the challenges faced by others.

Insights on Advance Care Planning, Compassionate Communities

Ms. Farah Demachkieh, nurse and public health specialist, Beirut, Lebanon

Overall, the sessions were of very high quality and provided valuable knowledge, experiences, and insight about different aspects of palliative care. One very nice thing about a virtual congress was the ability to watch parallel sessions at a later stage, and re-watch sessions when needed.

I have been lately very interested in advance care planning, patients with dementia, models of care, and compassionate communities.

In Lebanon, advance care planning faces several cultural barriers (taboos related to talking about death and dying) and lack of communication skills among health care professionals. Among the presentations was a research project that talked about the importance of adopting a social rather than a medical approach towards advance care planning. Such findings are very interesting and helpful for clinical practice. I will be sharing the findings of these studies with the clinical team in an effort to adopt a new, evidence-based approach that can help us better support dementia patients and their families in meeting their wishes and preferences towards the end of life.

Sessions about compassionate communities/cities provided me with great insight. In Lebanon there are no compassionate community initiatives or interventions. Our aim is to play a more active role in adopting a public health model towards death, dying, and grief by adapting and piloting a compassionate community intervention tailored to the context of Lebanon, with the hope that such interventions will strengthen the cohesion of communities amidst a pandemic and an economic collapse.

To learn more about European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) and SANAD—The Home Hospice Organization of Lebanon, visit the IAHPC Global Directory of Palliative Care Institutions and Organizations.

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