1st European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress a great success

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The 1st European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress held in Rome from 28 – 30 November 2012 was attended by over 300 delegates. This was more than double the number originally expected and stretched the unusual and very beautiful venue, the Aquarius Romano, to its full capacity. By early November the organisers had to regretfully close registration as the venue could not comfortably hold any further delegates. 

Presentations were heard from practitioners from all over Europe to delegates from as far abroad as Uruguay, South Africa and Australia. After the inspirational opening ceremony on Wednesday evening, the congress began on Thursday morning with an overview of developments in the field of children’s palliative care from around Europe. Paediatric Palliative Care leaders from Italy, France, Germany, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom, spoke of the various models of children’s palliative care provision found in each of these countries, their successes and challenges.The second half of the day was dedicated to the experience of families in paediatric palliative care.

On Friday delegates were given a chance to hear of new strategies for the treatment of pain from Dr Stefan Friedrichsdorf and about ‘Sleep disturbance and daytime agitation in severe neurological conditions’ from Dr Boris Zernikow. Dr Joanne Wolfe ended the early morning session with an interesting presentation on’ End of life management.’ The session before lunch focused on rare diseases and also looked at the neonatal screening of newborns for a number of rare diseases. The afternoon saw an inspiring session, chaired by Lizzie Chambers from Together for Short Lives where Ulrika Kreicbergs spoke on communication, Danai Papadatou from Greece reminded delegates of the importance of self care and care for the team and Myra Bluebond-Langner, the True Colours Trust Chair in Palliative Care for Children and Young People appealed to delegates to consider a more multi-dimensional and ethnological approach to research in the field. Conference organisers have indicated that the presentations from the conference will be available for download in due course. 

The conference was closed at 17:45 by Sylvia Lefebvre DoOvidio, President of the Fondazione Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Onlus (The Maruzza Foundation) who acknowledged all those who played a role in the great success of the very first European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress. She stated that the 2nd European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress would be held in 2014, and a a venue found that could easily hold the large number of delegates that there is no doubt would wish to attend.

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