Getting excited about heading to the Australian New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine conference in September in Perth. With Melbourne’s frigid weather, the thought of a flight to sunny warm Perth in Spring has to be attractive. But more than that, the topic of how palliative care is changing in the 21st century is fascinating.
As a new specialty, we were pretty radical back in the day. Dame Cicely Saunders taught us that the modern 20th century advances in medicine had resulted in the neglect of those who were incurable and terminally ill. She promoted the idea of the multi dimensional nature of suffering and the need for psychological, physical and spiritual support.
Where are we heading now, in the 21st century? Perhaps as baby boomers age, the growing influence of patient centred care and patient experience are impacting. With them, consumer driven pressure for more choice in end of life care, and a growing promotion of advance care planning by government, health services and consumers.
Technology is having an impact in palliative care, for younger people and older people alike: Palliverse is helping out with social media at the conference.
Novel agents such as immunotherapy in melanoma and other cancers have transformed care for groups of patients suffering from those cancers. But progress can come with a price – the great hope for cure in the previously incurable can lead to great disappointment an inadequate preparation for death when things don’t work out.
Dear reader, what do you think will be changing in the landscape of palliative care in the 21st century?