The 20th International Congress on Palliative Care was held in Montreal, Canada between 9-12 September 2014. Overall, it was a wonderful conference with:
- Thought-provoking plenaries and masterful workshops
- Knowledgeable speakers and engaged audiences
- A wide range of parallel sessions covering diverse topics from basic pharmacology to service delivery and development to spirituality, psychology and ethics, catering for every member of the palliative care team
- Wonderful moments of reflection
- Opportunities to meet new friends and catch up with old colleagues
… all set in the beautiful city of Montreal, which had a decidedly European feel to it, with all the cobblestoned streets in Old Town, as well as the rapid-fire French in our ears. There were several references to the recent passage of ‘Bill 52: An Act respecting end-of-life care’ in Quebec, which legalises physician assisted death. The great Balfour Mount noted with irony the Bill’s use of the phrase ‘medical aid in dying’: ‘I thought that’s what I’ve been doing for forty years!’
In response to Stephen Lewis’ inspiring plenary, the Congress issued the Montreal Declaration on Hospice and Palliative Care, which calls for the inclusion of palliative care in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You can sign the Declaration at: http://www.palliativecare.ca/en/home/montreal_declaration.html.
Finally, here is a selection of posters presented by Australians and New Zealanders at the Congress.