IAHPC asks recipients of its Scholars grants to report on the events they attend.
By Xiohara E. Gentica, MD
Antipolo City, Philippines
Like coals burning together, being in the 14th Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Conference in November ignited my purpose and meaning as to why I am treading this road while getting a glimpse of what's ahead of me if I burn with same level of passion, compassion, and selflessness that these leaders have exemplified through their hard work.
Because of that, they are now reaping the fruits of their labor together.
One of the remarkable things that I learned in this conference is maintaining humanity in pediatric palliative care and manifesting it through communication with families and team members.
The importance of acknowledging patients' and families' concerns, and being truly present—listening actively during their vulnerable times—was clearly emphasized. “Listen, Speak, and Address” is a clear and practical approach described during one seminar that I can apply when talking to parents. It helped me to reflect on how I really feel when speaking with the family. Am I in the business of breaking bad news for the sake of informing them, or am I doing it to ensure that realistic hopes remain? At the end of the day, maintaining hope must be our goal.
I am part of a diverse yet supportive team, which is a privilege in itself, and there's no better way to care for them than maintaining good and meaningful communication. This was a key message at the conference. When the team has a healthy relationship, it becomes effective. And effective teams create improvement in clinical outcomes and health care processes, as well as patient, family, and staff satisfaction.
To maximize our effectiveness, my team plans to discuss organizing regular meetings for us to review our vision, mission, and system, and to create objectives and realistic goals that we can work on together. Refocusing our views and making sure that we are driven by the same principles will help us continue with our goal of promoting awareness, providing training to others, and making a difference in our workplace. Small steps go a long way when we are constant and persistent in doing the things we love. The key is that all our team members must be empowered to advocate for the principles we believe in, so that our work will promote change wherever we may be and inspire whomever we are with.
Another key message was the importance of involving the government, which can create large leaps forward for pediatric palliative care. Looking for opportunities to share our team’s experiences with people in government would be a meaningful endeavor.
Our foundational principles—unity of purpose and providing service—will surely bring us to greater success, as has been achieved by our neighboring countries.
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.