Building a bridge to the future: Palliative Care Nurses Australia Conference

Categories: Education.

The conference focused on ‘Building a bridge to the future – the wide span of palliative care nursing’ and encompassed the concepts of ‘Populations’, ‘Partnerships’, ‘Practice’ and ‘Pillars – for best evidence based care’.

Reactions from conference delegates included:

  • “This is the first PCNA conference I’ve ever been to so I found it very enlightening, well organised and well constructed.”
  • “I thought the panel sessions were particularly useful because they evoke a lot of discussion and I think that’s always useful. I think the selection of the panel presenters was a really good mix.”
  • “I’ve enjoyed it because there’s been a good amount of clinical based knowledge, some things we can take away with us. Sometimes at these conferences they’re heavily research based. I’ve got a lot out of it.”

Professor Patricia Davidson, Dean of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, was keynote speaker at the conference, and spoke about the challenges facing nursing in Australia as the population ages and disease trajectories become more complicated.

“The fastest growing population of Australians is centenarians and one in every three children that are born today will live to be 100,” said Professor Davidson. “I think it’s really important that we consider palliative care delivery in the broader social and economic factors that drive healthcare, as well as the physiological factors.”

Elizabeth Preston was awarded the Vivian Bullwinkel Award for Best Abstract at the conference. Presenting on the topic of bereavement support for people with an intellectual disability, Elizabeth spoke about how she had experienced first hand the lack of support given to people with an intellectual disability and their families when experiencing grief. While some research has been conducted overseas, Elizabeth took it upon herself to conduct Australia-based research in this area.

A number of conference speakers wrote articles for ehospice Australia about the research they were presenting at the conference:

Implementing a model of care for people with serious advanced illness
In this article, Naomi McGowan writes about the Calvary ‘4R’ Model for people in end of life care, which sets out four key steps for improving care:

  • Recognise people approaching end of life
  • Respond appropriately to their needs
  • Renegotiate goals of care
  • Reinforce existing primary care supports and networks.

Guiding care for vulnerable populations
In this article, Karen Glaetzer writes about how working in a collaborative arrangement with disability service providers has enabled palliative care services to pre-empt the likely scenarios that vulnerable populations may encounter during the end of life.

Staff self care management in aged care facilities
Here, Deborah Rawlings explores the question: How do staff in aged care facilities manage self care following the death of residents? 

Following the conference, John Haberecht, President of Palliative Care Nurses Australia, commented: “I think there’s been a good buzz and atmosphere, people seem to be enjoying themselves. There’s a good spread of nurses from various backgrounds.

“With the [digital reporting] we had over 650 tweets and 110 participants and the audience reach was over 590,000. I think that’s been a great success and we have to keep going in that direction.”