For as long as our culture has being making art death, dying, and exploring the meaning of our fragile mortal lives have been key themes. Historically the arts have framed our practices around preparing for dying, celebrating lives, and pondered the traverse into the unknown. Artists of antiquity often used their media to describe the care for the dying and the dead, reflecting a palliative focus of the arts which continues to this day.
Merryn Gott (@MerrynGott) spoke about the ‘last taboo’ in our community: the invisible and sometimes unexpected costs of providing care at the end of life, which are often not explored in clinical and almost never measured in policymaking and research. She also discussed the impact of culture, ethnicity and gender on who is bearing these financial and non-financial costs. To find our more, read her open access @PalliativeMedJ article here.
Meera Agar (@meera_agar) discussed the growing evidence base around delirium care in the palliative care setting. Management of this complex, distressing, life-threatening, but often reversible syndrome is challenging. Non-pharmacological strategies and a system-wide approach to organizing and delivering care are crucial, as research into various drug treatments continue to demonstrate a lack of clear benefit and the potential for harm. Meera recommends iDelirium for more information about this important area of palliative care.
Pippa Hawley reflected on the lack of evidence around the use of medicinal cannabis – despite the immense interest from (and considerable experience of) our communities. How should clinicians respond while the scientific and legal issues are sorted out? Ask questions, keep an open mind & work with our patients!
Douglas McGregor explored the interface between heart failure and palliative care. He referenced Sarah Goodlin’s open access article, Merryn Gott’s study while discussing prognostic uncertainty and clinician paralysis; and observed that most guidelines still see palliative care as relevant only at the very end of life, rather than a key component of chronic disease management. Amy Gadaud’s (@agadoud) review was flagged as a good place to start when considering issues around early integration.
Sam Bloore stimulated and inspired delegates with his fascinating talk about dying well in a culture of bitcoin and botox. How can palliative care adapt, survive and thrive in this changing cultural landscape characterized by information overload, mindless distraction and incoherence? We must remain a “subversive” counterculture and continue to strive towards caring deeply and meaningfully!
In addition to these amazing plenaries, fully (and at times even over-)subscribed workshops on the overlap between palliative care and addiction medicine / chronic pain, aged care, literature and the arts were held, alongside numerous excellent oral and poster presentations from specialists and trainees. The enthusiastic and well-informed audience present during all of the sessions was another highlight for me (and I’m sure all of the other speakers and delegates)!
It’s been a wonderful few days in Perth. A big thank you to the Conference organizing committee, chaired by Derek Eng (@dr_engd), for inviting team @Palliverse to be part of this great event. Thanks also to all of you for engaging with #ANZSPM16 on social media. Keep an eye out for our upcoming tweet chats, during which we will continue the conversation about the changing landscape of palliative care!
We had a terrific day one at the #ANZSPM16 conference in Perth. The conference, mainly catering to palliative doctors in Australia and New Zealand, takes place in the luxurious Duxton hotel close to the Swan River in Perth.
The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) 2016 Conference opens today. A number of excellent pre-conference workshops were held yesterday, including:
A comprehensive trainee day, including a great workshop from Katrina Anderson on self-care and reflection about love, strength, vulnerability and respect; the use of methadone (Pippa Hawley); the challenges of providing palliative care in residential aged care facilities (Douglas McGregor), patients and families with vulnerable personalities (David Kissane), and the neuroanatomy of distress (Lisa Miller)
A great presentation on the role of media in palliative care, followed by a hands-on workshop in the afternoon, under the encouraging guidance of Marie Mills; and
Supervisor workshop, lead by Michelle Gold and Brian Le
Team Palliverse will be broadcasting from the #ANZSPM16 Conference for the next three days. If you are at the conference, please come and say g’day – and recharge your devices – at the social media hub!
If you could only admit one patient to your service today but you have many referrals, which patient would you choose?
Palliative Care is in urgent need of a robust and evidence-based system for triaging referrals in an equitable, efficient and transparent manner. If you are a health professional in Australia or New Zealand (other countries coming soon) working primarily in palliative care with at least two years of experience, we want to know your views!
Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognise in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life – the poetry of the commonplace, of the plain, toil-worn woman, with their loves and their joys, their sorrows and their griefs.
– Sir William Osler
In order to enrich the conference theme of honouring the art of palliative medicine, the conference organisers at the upcoming Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANSZPM) 2016 Conference in Perth, Western Australia have created a specific room for self reflection.
The Reflection Room will provide a nurturing space for conference participants to consider the human connection that we all experience as palliative care clinicians, and the impact this has on our own personal growth. The room will contain powerful art pieces that depict resilience in the face of dying, which aim to help delegates reflect on their experiences over the course of the conference, undertake guided mindfulness, or most importantly, just be.
Have you been to another conference recently where self-reflection, mindfulness and art featured strongly in the program? Was there space set aside for delegates to practice these activities amidst all the hustle and bustle of the conference program? Was it useful for you?
Robert Larkins, in his book Funeral Rights explains how “…in a little over 80 years, it has become the norm in Australia for a person to die in an institution and for strangers to collect the body and spirit it away to some mysterious and inaccessible mortuary.” He ascribes this transition to a combination of complex legislation, inadequate community awareness and in some cases, exploitation by those in the ‘death-care’ industry.
Calling all nurses… Next month PCNA will celebrate more than a decade of progress towards its vision of excellence in palliative care nursing.
DID YOU play a part in establishing the foundation for this progress?
DO YOU want to contribute to future progress towards this vision?
ARE YOU just curious to check out the latest advances in palliative care nursing?
Whether you’re in Canberra, Cooma, Clayfield, Carlton, or Christchurch—this conference is your opportunity to meet and mingle with experts in your field, as well as catch up with old colleagues or make new friends and professional connections.
In this post we give an overview of the conference program and keynote speakers presenting at what promises to be an outstanding conference, not to be missed!