During the month of August many readers, including some of us, took a few vacation days. If you did too, we hope that you enjoyed the rest. And we hope that all our readers, their loved ones, and their friends are doing well and staying healthy.
This month, our letter to you is packed with information!
On September 30, we are launching an eight-module Comprehensive Symptom Assessment and Management Course, designed for IAHPC members who wish to increase their knowledge and skills in patient-centered management of symptoms other than pain. Faculty who are experts in the field will address symptoms that are common in palliative care for adults. (Find the list of symptoms being addressed in the News section.)
The curriculum addresses basic principles associated with symptom assessment, effective pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment options, and appropriate therapeutic regimens, all of which are based on disease states and other patient-related factors. Live sessions will be on Zoom and will be recorded for participants unable to attend or who want to review the sessions later.
The course is free to IAHPC members. Preregistration is required: a registration announcement will be sent to members soon. The first module takes place September 30 at 7 a.m. CST (12 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. CET). It is being taught by Dr. Eduardo Bruera and Dr. Donna Zhukovsky from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, USA.
This new course complements the recent Comprehensive Pain Assessment and Management Course taught by Professor Lukas Radbruch and Dr. Ebtesam Ahmed. (This newsletter includes an outline of the final three modules.)
Flash membership sale: You may be aware of our recently announced flash membership sale. With the financial challenges that we are all facing, the IAHPC is reducing membership fees by 20% across all categories (individual and institutional) for the month of September. If your membership is still current or if you recently joined or renewed and wish to take advantage of this offer, we will extend your membership for the amount of time you specify (one or two years). If your membership has expired, or if you are not yet a member, we invite you to join or renew with the 20% discount. This offer ends on September 30.
Survey on assisted dying practices: News reports and public commentary about assisted dying practices —including physician-assisted suicide, medical aid in dying, euthanasia, etc.— and legal proposals about them are becoming increasingly common. Palliative care workers may be confronted with these issues at their institutions and in some cases—where these practices are legal—may be mandated to provide these services to their patients. Given that these discussions and new laws and regulations are already having a powerful impact on patients, caregivers, health care providers, and their relationships, we prepared a survey for our members. The survey is anonymous. Our objective is to assess member awareness of the legal status of assisted dying practices around the world, identify the opinions and attitudes of IAHPC members, and learn more about the direct and indirect effects of these practices on members. If you are a member and have not received the survey, please check your inbox. If you would like us to resend the link, please contact us or respond to the reminder that will be sent out soon. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey! Those who do so receive a three-month extension of their membership.
World Hospice & Palliative Care Day: October is especially important for the global palliative care community. On the second Saturday, we celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, a great campaign coordinated by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA). The focus of this year’s World Day, taking place October 8, is “Healing Hearts and Communities.” The experience of grief and the need to heal unites us all. More than six million deaths worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic put tremendous strain on health care systems and has caused unprecedented grief and suffering for health workers and caregivers. Millions of families, patients, and caregivers caught in conflicts are grieving the deaths of family and friends who have fallen victim to deadly violence, social isolation, and the loss of home and community.
Many organizations throughout the world are planning events to increase government, patient, and public awareness about the fact that palliative care can improve the quality of life of both patients and families, and that appropriate policies and funding mechanisms are needed to ensure services for those in need. We hope that you get involved in your community and plan an activity to mark World Day. Don’t forget to register your event with the WHPCA, to help it track the day’s impact!
Credit card donations: In recent weeks, our online credit card donation form has been used to do fraudulent donations. As a result, we are implementing additional safety features, including second-step verification tools. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause donors, but the security of your donations is paramount to us. Membership payments and other credit card transactions have not been affected.
Until next month,
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA