Lemon groves, a sparkling sea and a full agenda were the setting for the recent EAPC board meeting in Maoiri, Italy. Dr David Oliver, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, Honorary Reader, Centre for Professional Practice, University of Kent, UK, and EAPC board member explains.
Members of the EAPC Board of Directors come from a variety of professions and countries bringing our different areas of experience and expertise to the table. We meet officially twice a year and although it’s true that on this occasion we met on the beautiful and enchanting Amalfi coast our president made sure that we had a very full agenda to discuss and approve. Here are just a few of the highlights from our last meeting held in Italy from 27-28 October.
The board discussed a range of advocacy matters in which the EAPC is involved. Of particular note is the work on palliative care and older people. On 25 September the EAPC, in collaboration with the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society and the Maruzza Lefebvre Foundation, launched a Manifesto on Better Palliative Care for Older People at the European Parliament on 25 September. (You can download a copy of the manifesto, available in six languages).
Collaboration with other organisations
Work is planned for guidelines for the symptom management and care of oncology patients in collaboration with European Oncological Societies.
Launched just nine months ago, our social media activities have resulted in an impressive 104 posts on the EAPC blog, which has attracted 18,662 visits so far including some 14,000 from Europe. The blog is integrated with our Facebook and Twitter (@EAPCOnlus) pages. Following the closure in autumn 2012 of the Russian and English language ‘Central and Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union’ newsletter it has now merged with the blog. The editor, Dr Katalin Hegedus, has joined the EAPC social media team and her experience and knowledge will ensure that we continue to provide the same high-quality and relevant information for the region.
Following an invitation to countries that had signed up to the Budapest Commitments, we have now published four posts on the blog describing the actions taken to improve education in palliative care, national strategies, development of palliative care services and professionals. More contributions are expected and all will be summarised in an editorial in the European Journal of Palliative Care before the next EAPC World Congress in Prague.
Next EAPC congresses
Plans are well in hand for our next congresses:
30 May-2 June 2013 – 13th World Congress in Prague. 5-7 June 2014 – 8th World Research Congress in Llerida, near Barcelona, Spain. And the 1st European Paediatric Palliative Care Congress to be held in Rome 28-30 November (a collaboration between the Maruzza Lefebvre Foundation and the EAPC) is already oversubscribed.
Many taskforces are proceeding, often in collaboration with other European groups. Highlights include:
- The Taskforce on the Medical Specialisation in Palliative Care is producing a White Paper.
- A new Taskforce on Bereavement Care was approved and will be starting soon.
- The Taskforce on Spiritual Care has received 971 responses from 87 countries to the online survey and is planning to publish the results in 2013
- The board commented on and formally approved a new publication from the Taskforce for Long-term Care and Older People.
- A new White Paper, ‘Core competencies in palliative care’, by Claudia Garamondi, Phil Larkin and Sheila Payne was also formally approved. This paper pulls together the key principles about training in palliative care.
This joint venture by the EAPC, Human Rights Watch, International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) will call upon governments to relieve suffering and recognise palliative care as a human right. The Prague Charter builds on the experience of the Budapest Commitments and will urge governments to develop health policies that address the needs of patients with life limiting illness, ensure access to essential medications, ensure adequate training of healthcare workers and ensure palliative care is integrated into healthcare systems at all levels. A petition is being drafted and will be launched end December 2012/January 2013. An initial report will be given at the EAPC congress in Prague.
Our two days at La Torre della Limonaia were productive and busy yet well compensated by the idyllic surroundings and warm hospitality provided by our kind hostess, Sylvia Lefebvre, and her amazing team headed by Claudia Ruffo, who ensured superb and generously subsidised accommodation and catering.
Keep in touch…
The EAPC welcomes comments and ideas from members – the aim is to share information across Europe – and the board is keen to receive information from members and those working in palliative care. Please feel welcome to comment and contribute via our new social media links, or visit our website. And anyone is welcome to contact the president, Professor Sheila Payne.