Examples exist throughout the world where communities are taking control and solving some of the problems they face. The public health approach to palliative care is growing rapidly in interest and popularity as the potential it could have in end of life care is beginning to be realised.
Why did the conferences start?
The Public Health and Palliative Care Conference series started in 2009, when it was decided that the disparate efforts internationally needed a platform to come together, share best practice, learn from each other and support new developments.
In January 2009, the first conference was held at the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Calicut, Kerala, India. It was attended by over 60 delegates from around the world.
It was an important meeting for people working in this field as, until then, they had been working in isolation, often trying to persuade their organisations of the potential of this approach.
Coming together to learn from others about what impacts they were seeing and what methods they were using was enormously helpful and built a strong international network.
The many different terms used to describe the approach were discussed and the terminology for the approach clarified.
Following from this, an edited book was put together, with some of the keynote speakers included, to showcase the range of projects and the impact of initiatives for people and families (Sallnow, Kumar and Kellehear, 2012).
The energy and interest from the first conference meant that a second meeting followed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2011, hosted by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Dr Nezam Uddin, a palliative care consultant.
The conference again served to bring together practitioners in the public health approach to end of life care field, but also to support a palliative care service in its early stage of development, to embed within it a public health approach from the start (Sallnow, Khan and Uddin 2011).
The third conference was hosted by Milford Care Centre and the University of Limerick and supported by the Irish Hospice Foundation in April 2013 and welcomed over 250 delegates from over 18 countries.
The conference posed the question ‘Death, dying, loss and care – social experiences or medical events?’ Keynote speakers included Professor Allan Kellehear, Professor Luc Deliens, Professor Bruce Rumbold, Dr Suresh Kumar, Dr Cillian Twomey and Associate Professor Deborah Horsfall.
The conference was a resounding success and helped build the critical mass and momentum needed to make the international movement what it is today.
What is happening this May?
This May will see Bristol welcoming delegates to the 4th International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference: ‘Community resilience in practice’.
Held from 13 16 May 2015 at the Bristol City Marriot Hotel, the programme has been put together to cover the six themes:
- participatory approaches
- public health and policy
- low resource settings
- learning from other sectors
- engaging communities; and
- reframing death, dying and loss.
Presentations will include oral presentations such as:
- “Dementia friendly pharmacies” a community based health promotion project
- Compassionate classrooms: supporting teachers to support children living with grief and loss
- The power to choose: developing community capacity to provide palliative care in four First Nations communities in Canada; and
- Challenges in home care for the dying elderly in Kolkata, India.
There will be a variety of workshops, including:
- Volunteering in partnership: a public health approach to delivering compassionate care to those at end of life and the frail elderly
- From service delivery to community enablement: a public health approach to palliative care; and
- Refining and sharing our methods: how to research the public health approach to palliative care?
These oral presentations and workshops will run alongside many poster presentations. Abstracts have been selected from over 23 countries.
Invited keynote speakers are confirmed as Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell, Professor Allan Kellehear, Dr Sakoto Hotta, Bill Crooks, Dr Denise Marshall, Elizabeth Bayliss, Manjula Patel, Dr Richard Smith and Dr Julian Abel.
The new Association for Public Health and Palliative Care International will be launched by Professor Allan Kellehear at the conference and applications for serving on the council will open in the next few weeks.
Nomination forms for self-nomination or the nomination of others will be available on the PHPCI website and emailed out to all registered delegates. Please contact Karen Clarke at Karen.Clarke@stwhospice.org if you need further information.
Pre-conference site visits
Immediately before the conference, on 11 and 12 May, site visits to public health and palliative care projects around the UK are available.
Conference delegates can book to attend these two days and gain a practical understanding of how such projects work and to meet and learn from those involved in running them.
The hosting sites are: Cheshire Living Well, Dying Well Public Health Programme, Murray Hall Community Trust, Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury, St Joseph’s Hospice, London and Weston Hospicecare, Somerset.
All are putting on innovative two day programmes to demonstrate to delegates how they have embedded the public health approach in their settings and the impact and challenges of such an approach.
A call to action to all involved in end of life care
This conference is a call to action to all involved in end of life care. It will galvanise the significant movement for change that is occurring across all sectors, inspire those attending and will support efforts to improve the quality of life and death when communities embrace and take the lead.
Booking is now open for this exciting event via the conference website and we look forward to meeting you in Bristol!
Please contact Marie at Marie@eventprouk.com for more information.
Karapliagkou, A. & Kellehear, A., 2014. Public Health Approaches to End of Life Care. A Toolkit. London, National Council for Palliative Care and Public Health England
Sallnow L, Kumar S and Kellehear K. (eds.) (2012) International Perspectives on Public Health and Palliative Care. Routledge, London
Sallnow L, Khan F, Uddin N (2011) 2nd International Conference on Public Health and Palliative Care, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. 11(3): 265-6