IAHPC asks recipients of its Scholar grants to report on the events they attend. These IAHPC Scholars attended the 17th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care, a virtual event, in early October.
Sindhu Hirekatur Manjunath, Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery specializing in internal medicine/paediatrics
The pre-congress workshop convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) and plenary sessions provided me with a unique insight into how other countries have been able to structure palliative care resources on community, primary, and tertiary levels. In India, patients have a limited access to palliative care, although palliative care facilities are beginning to evolve and grow to meet that need. This barrier to access exists both from the perspective of available palliative care resources, and the low-income backgrounds of patients. The WHO recommendations helped me identify how palliative care may be made available to a greater proportion of the population.
Being able to highlight our team’s research on the scope of palliative care in a chronic infectious disease like HIV gave me an opportunity to bring to light the dedication and efforts of all clinicians and researchers working to bring palliative and supportive care to our patients.
I was able to interact with other researchers from developing nations who are improving palliative care access in their countries. Of note, I found Prof. Richard Harding’s talk on inclusivity in palliative care immensely impactful. Many learning points and practices from his talk can be incorporated into routine practices in India, given our country’s cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity.
Poster: Unmet Need of Palliative Care in People Living with HIV/AIDS
Dr. Simone Cernesi, general practitioner
Formigine, Modena, Italy
As a nursing home doctor for older persons, I cannot forget what happened to these people during the pandemic. The congress made me reflect on the need for advocacy for these people and I rediscovered the importance of ethical choices in the field of frailty. I also received new energy to continue with the advocacy work I started with IAHPC.
Communication with the patient and family members was fundamental during COVID, and tools like RED-MAP [a framework for talking about planning treatment and care, death and dying] and SPIKES [a protocol for delivering bad news] were helpful and became a "good practice" for me. In my poster abstract I discussed how we adapted the RED-MAP tool for the Italian context.
I also participated in the EAPC photo contest because I believe that the story in images of what happened is very powerful—more than many words written—and could have an immediate impact for COVID skeptics.
Poster/Oral presentation: General Practice Opens the Door to Primary Palliative Care in Italy: An Italian version of RED-MAP
Lucas Thiago Pereira da Silva, nursing undergrad
São Paulo, Brazil
The congress updated my knowledge, giving me the tools to develop my research of bioethics in end-of-life care in the Brazilian context. My research can then inform public policies. My new knowledge and encouragement I received at the congress is also helping me to improve the practice of palliative nursing care by directly assisting patients.
There are many fronts where I can replicate the knowledge and skills gained during the event, especially by bringing the best evidence to my practice and to the multidisciplinary group that I participate in. Our group holds meetings to discuss best practices and exchange new information from events like this, and how to apply what we have learned in our context of care.
Dr. Vanesa Rocio Orellana Caro, specialist in palliative care/palliative medicine
La Paz, Bolivia
I would like to express my sincere thanks for your generosity. The scholarship allowed me to deepen my skills in the doctor-patient relationship. My deep admiration and respect for you, because you are spreading palliative care to each country. This online congress will help me to create programs of investigation in palliative care, and I will teach students of medicine about new skills of treatment and the importance of humanitarianism.
N. Dennis Mwafulirwa, executive director, Yathu Hospice
Currently, about 176,000 people in Malawi need palliative care services and support, which is now limited. Our challenge as a volunteer, not-for-profit organization is: how do we reach more people with services and supports despite increasing financial challenges? That being said, the conference provided resources and tools to help us advocate for palliative care, and how to use an evidence-based perspective to show relevant stakeholders the significance of palliative care services. There are cost-effective ways to provide the needed care and support, but first, as a country, we need to value palliative care and recognize it as essential.
The conference introduced me to interesting research work and innovative approaches being used in parts of the world to advance palliative care both during COVID-19 and in the future. It challenged me by revealing how organizations can thrive and be resilient, by quickly adapting to changing contexts and by collaborating with others (such as strengthening specialist palliative care via technology).
It was a rare opportunity: one that was empowering.
To find out more about IAHPC’s Program Support Grants, our Scholars and Fellowships, please visit our website. Through these programs we support projects and individuals around the world, especially in developing countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
You can contribute to this program and help palliative care workers attend and participate in conferences and courses by specifying the IAHPC Scholarship program when making your donation. Although most “traveling” now is virtual, your gift helps with registration and ancillary expenses.