Enriching scientific sessions, a dash of competitiveness, and a riveting infotainment segment…Day 2 of IAPCON2021

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Enriching scientific sessions, a dash of competitiveness and a riveting infotainment segment summarized Day 2 of the IAPCON 2021. The action packed Day 2 of the conference witnessed some very interesting and interactive scientific sessions on Paediatric Palliative Care and Psychosocial Distress between 4 and 6 p.m.This was followed by a very innovative infotainment session  Next, Cipla Foundation presented a session on early involvement for palliative care. The balanced day concluded with an adrenaline filled and interactive virtual quiz session.

The event proceeded with enthusiastic participation from both faculty and the delegates and went on  without any glitches and issues.

Session summaries from Day 2 of the IAPCON:

Paediatric Palliative Care

Dr Gayatri Palat, Consultant, Pain And Palliative Medicine, MNJ Institute of Oncology, Hyderabad, was the theme leader for this session and the session was delivered by four eminent speakers, who covered a wide range of topics from the field of pediatric palliative care.

Ms. Camara Van Breemen, a nurse practioner and a clinical instructor, Canuck Place Hospice, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada shared her work on serious illness conversation in children and presented her paper on ‘Serious illness Conversation in Pediatrics’. (Serious Illness Conversations in Pediatrics: A Case Review, Children 2020, 7, 102; doi:10.3390/children7080102, www.mdpi.com/journal/children’). She mentioned that the guide provided a structured communication tool to successfully explore concerns on: assessing illness understanding and patient information preferences; share prognosis according to patient preferences; explore patient values, goals, and care preferences; and make recommendations based on patient priorities. It was highlighted that the guide was adapted in 2017 to allow application for families whose child has a serious illness.

Dr Naveen Salins, Professor and HOD, KMC, Manipal, presented the results of his qualitative research on ‘Oncologists’ and Haematologists’ views on what Facilitates or Hinders Referral of a Child with Advanced Cancer to Palliative Care’. A few highlights from the results of his study were that oncologists found palliative care beneficial because of: pain and symptom management, time saving benefits, their own personal growth, better treatment outcomes and patients requesting to return home to die. Dr Salins went on to add that oncologists relied on family feedback with positive family feedback influencing future referrals. He mentioned that clinicians also expressed concerns around need for role clarity for a PC provider, the competency of a palliative care provider and their availability and accessibility of services.

Dr Emily Harrop, Consultant in Paediatric Palliative Care & Medical Director, Helen & Douglas House, Honorary Consultant at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Co-chair, WHO Guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children presented the WHO 2021 guidelines on chronic pain in children. The guideline highlighted the best practice statements, four key recommendations, and the need for research on children’s pain and pain reliefalong with up take and Implementation guidance.

Dr Spandana Rayala, Consultant, Pediatric Palliative Care, Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society, Hyderabad, presented the results of a study on ‘Use of methadone in children with cancer in India’ (Palat G, Algotsson C, Rayala S. et.al, The use of methadone in pediatric cancer pain – A retrospective study from a Governmental Cancer Center in India. Indian J Palliat Care 2021;27:133-8). She highlighted that methadone in low dose as an analgesic for paediatric cancer patients was found to be safe with only a few side effects and no serious adverse effects recorded during the long periods of treatment.

Psychosocial Distress

The Conference audience were treated to yet another one hour interesting session in psychosocial palliative care, focusing particularly on Psychosocial distress in palliative care.

Dr. Jayita Deodhar, Professor and Officer In Charge Dept. Of Palliative Medicine, TMH Mumbai and Dr. Anuja Damani, Consultant, Dept. Of Palliative Medicine, TMH Mumbai, were the session leaders. The captivating session was delivered by 3 renowned speakers from the field of palliative care.

Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran, Professor Psychiatry and Palliative Care Believers Church Medical College Hospital Thiruvalla, Kerala, lucidly articulated the importance of distress screening. Dr Venkateswaran went on to describe an array of research methodologies towards understanding and addressing the concept of distress using various tools to measure distress, particularly in our context. She also iterated the importance for a comprehensive evaluation following the screening process.

Mr. Ganpathy KV, Clinical Psychologist, CEO JASCAP, presented his qualitative research of using interpretative phenomenological analysis about distress as experienced by the parents of children with medulloblastomas. The themes of situational demand, emotional distress and finding hope, resonated well with the audience.

Dr. Seema Rao, Consultant, Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, provided insights into her research regarding the perspectives of family members of head and neck cancer patients with malignant fungating wounds. She highlighted that the suffering brought on by the illness also led to the enriching experience of them embracing their role while also simultaneously accepting their own struggles.

 Infotainment session

Post a very intense scientific session, the infotainment session was a welcome break for the conference participants. The very innovative and creative session was delivered by Dr Umesh Bhadani, Dr Anjum Joad and Dr Priyadarshini Kulkarni.

The organizing team played a series of short video clips from various movies which implicitly depicted palliative care and its various components.

Dr Bhadani said that the session intended to showcase ‘several issues which we, as palliative care physicians, deal with on every day basis’, while referring to clips from 2 hindi movies – Munnabhai MBBS and Anand. Selected scenes portrayed the importance of good communication skills, the importance of firing warning shots at the right time, impact of breaking bad news, the stages in grief etc.

The highlight of the session was that the video clips were supported with an enriching discussion on what went right and what could have been done better. The idea was to learn the concepts of palliative care while also having fun. Kudos to the team, for this brilliant session!

 Early involvement of Palliative Care – CIPLA Foundation

The session by Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre focused on emphasizing the need for the early integration of palliative care in treatment pathways, rather than the current referral based palliative care approach. The panel advocated for early integration to become the standard practice and urged palliative care teams to work alongside the treating teams to make this a reality.

The importance of multi disciplinary teams in providing early supportive and palliative care and the range of available training programmes were also presented during the session.

The informative and inspiring session concluded with a call for clinicians to practice an integrated approach of including palliative care early in treatment to facilitate access to palliative care for those needing it so that patients can achieve the best quality of life themselves and for their families.

Dr Vivek Nirabhavane, Dr Nivideta Page, Dr Sonali Kulkarni, and Dr Prakash Fernandes from Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre Pune, and Dr Amit Bhatt, Director, Avinash Cancer Clinic, Pune and Dr Shekhar Kulkarni, Consulting Breast Surgeon, Pune  were the speakers of this session.

Virtual Quiz

One of the other many firsts in the IAPCON 2021, was the conduct of a virtual quiz session. Dr Kehkasha and Dr Arunangshu Ghoshal  were the quiz masters for the evening. The quiz was managed by an efficient team, with Dr Abhyuday and Dr Anuja Damani donning the role of scorers and Dr Pawan providing the very crucial IT support. Mr Ganapathy KV, was the Master of Ceremonies and did a fantastic job making sure that the audience were riveted to the session.

The 3 level quiz began with 50 enthusiastic participants entering the preliminary round, the fastest finger round. The exciting round ended with only 12 participants proceeding to the next round. These 12 participants then faced an elimination round, supported by Kahoot platform, where only 5 were shortlisted and taken a step closer to fight for the coveted title of ‘Winner’.

The final 5 participants (Dr Raghav Gupta, Dr Pratik Kumar Singh, DrArun S K, Dr Sowmya Susan and Dr Karthikeyan) were up against each other as they maneuvered a general round, a visual round and Rapid Fire Round with questions related to palliative care. The nerve wrecking and intense round ended up in a tie between Dr Sowmya Susan and Dr Raghav Gupta competing with each other for the first place.

The session concluded with Dr Raghav Gupta being declared winner, Dr Sowmya Susan securing a very close second position and with Dr Pratik Kumar Singh finishing at third place.

 Virtual Vs Physical Conference

Delegates’ Opinion

Mr Ganapathy KV, CEO, JASCAP, Mumbai,  expressed that “Virtual conference is very functional.  No time waste, cost effective in terms of travel and administrative expenses. However, the networking, the informal peer meetings and knowledge building is a challenge in virtual meeting. This is where physical meeting scores”

Ms Aneka Paul from Golden Butterflies, Chennai,  shared that “Virtual conferences have become the norm over the past year, but some seem to be more user-friendly than others. The landing page was novel, but interaction method took a bit of getting used to. There were fewer topics than usual (in-person, day-long format), but the emphasis on research was a refreshing shift”. She added that she prefers a physical conference as “being able to directly interact with experts and other participants at a physical conference would be preferred.”

Feedback about IAPCON2021

“IAPCON 2021, an academic event organized on the virtual platform is a grand success. It was a unique opportunity to discuss various clinical subjects in pain and palliative care for everyone. Though we missed meeting each other in person, we enjoyed the comforts of home, had an enriching academic experience, good entertainment and mind twisting quiz. Everything was organised very well. No technical problems. Good selection of topics. I thank the organisers from the bottom of my heart for their untiring efforts. Heartiest congratulations to Dr Sushmaji, President and team IAPC.”

Dr Geeta Josh, CEO, Community Oncology Centre, Ahmedabad


This was the first online conference to organise amid so much of chaos and confusion due to the pandemic and it’s effect on our professional lives. Yet, you all took out extra time to organise this amazing event. The scientific sessions have been excellent and the online presentation seamless, considering speakers have joined from all over the world. Good blend of researchers from India and abroad. A good opportunity is given to our young budding researchers from back home to showcase their efforts. Maybe we should keep a research conference every 3 years? The extra events have been fun. Look forward to future feasts of academic excellence.. Congratulations to all.”

Dr Mary Ann Muckaden, TMH, Mumbai

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