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APHC 2019 - Report

Welcome back to our members who attended the 13th APHC last month! We're pleased to carry summaries of reports by Dr Look Mei Ling and Ruth Tiong, who attended the conference under the MHC APHN Bursary. Thank you for your thoughts and vivid images, and helping spread the knowledge gained!

Dr Look Mei Ling observes that Surabaya was an apt venue for the conference, being not only the second largest city in Indonesia, but is also the city where palliative care was first established in the country in 1992. The theme this year was "Giving hope to those in despair".

The opening ceremony was impressive and entertaining, with the regional delegates treated to a marching band, traditional dances, and an accomplished children’s angklung orchestra. Welcoming the delegates with the opening speeches were Dr Dradjat R. Suardi (chair of the APHC 2019 organising committee), APHN chair Dr Cynthia Goh, and Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini.

The 5 plenaries were packed with insights and updates on different aspect of palliative care issues, research and evidence-based practices, including advanced care planning (ACP), end-of-life issues, chronic breathlessness, healthcare for the elderly, and early palliative care in cancer and non-cancer patients.

Dr Look also found many interesting concurrent scientific symposia throughout the 3 days, including a notable session on "Agitated delirium in the last days".

"Palliative Care in Non-Cancer and other Settings" by Dr Joanne Lynn was an interactive concurrent session, with delegates sharing about the state of palliative care in their countries, where systems ranged from free palliative care given as part of government healthcare programmes to non-profit hospice services based on volunteers and donations. She touched on the importance of integrating palliative care early with geriatric and other non-cancer settings, by highlighting the needs that will benefit from both general and specialist palliative care.

Nurse Ruth Tiong, who presented a poster at the conference, also found the sessions exciting and inspiring, writing “…it encouraged me to move on and continue to persevere in bringing palliative care to our community.” Nurse Ruth highlighted a session on Communication in Advance Care Planning (ACP) as one which had helped her gain a wider perspective and understanding on ACP.

“This can help me to prepare my patients for the discussion, acknowledge their emotions and concerns and helped them to prepare for the future. As a palliative care nurse, it has been challenging to apply ACP to my patients, especially in the community setting but it is always possible to do it.”

The closing ceremony on Aug 4 saw a closing speech by the APHC 2019 chairman of APHC, followed by a prize-giving ceremony for the 3 best oral and 3 best poster presentations. The Japan team also gave a short presentation for the upcoming 14th Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Conference in 2021.

Dr Look is an individual member working with Hospis Malaysia, while Nurse Ruth is an individual member working with our hospice member Charis Hospice. Welcome back, both, and thank you for sharing!



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