A Paediatric Palliative Care Conference was hosted at AIIMS Hospital Delhi on 5-6 November 2017. This conference was deemed a success on many levels. With an attendance of over 100 participants, training in Paediatric Palliative Care was provided from educators from all over India as well as an international faculty. The event was organised jointly by the Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine at AIIMS, led by Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, the Children’s Cancer care NGO CanKids led by Poonam Bagai and the Palliative Care Subcommittee of the Indian Pediatric Oncology Group. The advantages of collaborating together were agreed by all in this mutually supportive event.
The conference covered a variety of subjects ensuring the audience understood the scale of the need for palliative care for children, learnt the importance of assessing pain and other symptom control skills and understood the importance of prescribing appropriately and safely in children. Leading paediatric palliative consultants from India, Dr MaryAnn Muckaden, Dr Hariprasad, Dr Gayatri Palat and Dr Veronique Dinard shared their knowledge on these matters.
Visiting paediatric oncologist from Brisbane Australia, Dr Ross Pinkerton described the need for early integration of palliative care to ensure holistic care, nursing issues were addressed by Nursing Sister’s Hanife Gamwell from Cankids and visiting palliative care specialist nurse Lee Anne (Brisbane). Complex ethical issues relating to paediatric palliative care were discussed by Dr Reena Sharma (Can Support, Delhi).
Psychologists from Mumbai and Delhi, Anuradha Karegar (Tata Memorial Hospita), Anuradha Banerji (CanKids) and Dr Tenzing (CanKids) discussed the complexities of providing psychological support to such children and their families.
Workshops facilitated by were carried out to discuss case studies on end of life issues and participants had the opportunity to understand how strong opioids are prescribed in the opioid workshop.
Other speakers at the event included Dr Amita Mahajan (Pediatric Hemato-oncologist at Apollo Hospital, Delhi), Dr Sameer Bakshi (Pediatric Oncologist, AIIMS, Delhi), Dr Preeti Anand (Pediatric Intensivist, Fortis, Gurgaon), Dr Tulika Seth (Pediatric Hematologist, AIIMS) and Dr Manjiri Dighe (Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre, Pune). Dr Jean Jacob (Hyderabad) and Dr KBrenda Ward (UK) assisted with others in facilitating the workshops.
Paediatric palliative care is an essential but poorly recognised speciality throughout the world. This conference shone a light on the field, brought advocates together and set an example of what can be achieved when those who are inspired come together to lead.