More than 500 healthcare professionals (including physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers and physiotherapists among others), academics, students and volunteers attended this landmark event.
Over the course of three days, 18 international and 69 national speakers (including major contributors to the field of palliative care), presented on new research, current challenges and future goals.
This was a historic congress that raised the quality standard that is required for palliative care to develop further, in Portugal and beyond.
The programme was full and rich. A packed auditorium saw Professor Julia Downing deliver the opening lecture on the need to extend global access to palliative care beyond boundaries. Four plenaries followed:
- Palliative care beyond cancer, with a focus on the early identification and integration of palliative care for patients with non-malignant conditions such as cerebral palsy, dementia and mental disorders (presentations by Professor Sheila Payne, Dr Carla Reigada, Dr Eulália Calado, Dr Roeline Pasman and Professor Xavier Gómez-Batiste)
- Advance care planning, with a focus on conceptual issues and implementation with children, adolescents and adults; knowledge and use of living wills (presentations by Professor Agnes Van der Heide, Dr Finella Craig, Dr Mara Freitas and Dr Fátima Ferreira)
- Palliative care across the continuum of life span, from perinatal/neonatal interventions, to caring for children and adolescents, adults and older people, reflecting on the challenges posed at different stages of life (presentations by Dr Joana Mendes, Dr Ana Lacerda, Professor Agnes Van der Heide, Dr Roeline Pasman and Professor Phil Larkin)
- Emerging reflections, with keynote presentations on early intervention by Dr Nuñez Olarte and on individual vs. relational autonomy by Prof Phil Larkin, president of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC).
In addition, there were 10 parallel sessions, nine meet-the-experts sessions, eight workshops and four open communication sessions (with 26 oral presentations).
Themes ranged from pediatrics to symptom management, palliative sedation, outcome measurement, research and ethical challenges, team work, service evaluation, family caregivers, care delivery in serious acute illness, dignity, multiculturalism, rehabilitation, ehealth and anticipatory grief.
More than 100 posters were displayed, reporting on developments not just in Portugal (mainland and islands) but also in other Portuguese-speaking countries such as Brazil and Mozambique.
‘Best Oral Communication’ prize was given to Dr Filipa Tavares whose presentation was titled: “Can we trust a PAP score of a cancer patient with an infection?”
‘Best Poster’ prize was given to Dr Sara Vieira Silva with a poster titled: “Management of advanced heart failure: the experience of a hospital palliative care team.”
The next national event organised by the Portuguese Association for Palliative Care is the Research Congress, which is being planned for March/April of 2017 in Bragança.
You can find out more about the Research Congress, and the work of the Portuguese Association for Palliative Care on the Association’s website.
Read about children’s palliative care activities on the international children’s edition of ehospice.