As both a clinician and hospice chief executive before moving into my current role at Hospice UK, I have always been concerned that clinical strategic options may not be given sufficient attention by senior managers and trustees.
Hospices need to make vital shifts in terms of service direction and workforce to take account of changing demographics and unmet need; and to stay relevant to the agenda that lies ahead for hospice care.
The choice of conference plenaries reflects this need for change and plenary speakers from within and beyond the UK and have been chosen to both inspire and provoke.
- Jos de Blok will explain how, through his company Buurtzorg, he has transformed home-based healthcare in the Netherlands.
- Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, broadcaster and author of ‘Living with Dying – finding care and compassion at the end of life’, will ask “What does it take to be able to die at home?”
- Scott Murray, St Columba’s Hospice chair of primary palliative care at Edinburgh University, calls for a radical redesign of palliative care services.
- Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College in New York, will look at death anxiety and what it means for hospice care.
- Max Watson, medical director at Northern Ireland Hospice, will share what he has learnt through piloting the use of ECHO technology as a means of ‘democratising medical knowledge’ and improving the delivery of palliative care in rural areas.
Given the range of roles represented at Hospice UK’s national conference – from hospice chief executives and trustees to front-line clinicians and senior managers in clinical and non clinical roles – it is a challenging and exciting task to put together the programme. Feedback over many conferences has proved that this diversity is welcomed.
The diversity of topics continues in the parallel sessions, which encompass issues such as workforce, telemedicine, ethics and advocacy on day one, new approaches to care, new partnerships and new uses of data on day two and income generation, working in/with hospitals and extending the reach of hospice care on day three.
Running alongside this rich and topical content are sessions on the use of the arts in hospice care as well as a range of creative activities which reflect the conference theme ‘The art and science of hospice care’.
Over the three days there will also be opportunities to view over 200 posters, participate in fringe meetings, engage with over 50 exhibitors from commercial and charitable organisations, and toast the winners of this year’s Hospice UK Awards.
Perhaps most importantly, it is a time for refreshing and renewal and to discover how to be the best you can be!
Our Twitter hashtag for the conference is #HUKConf15 so you can follow the action even if you cannot make it to Liverpool.