News from Prague – the 13th World Congress on palliative care

Lukas Radbruch, Chair of the Scientific Committee and past president of the EAPC

Sitting in the hotel room, I wonder whether I am really in Prague.

Professor Sheila Payne at the congress opening on Thursday

Professor Sheila Payne at the congress opening on Thursday

The congress opened on Thursday with short notes from Ladislav Kabelka (Chair of the Local Organising Committee), Sheila Payne (President of the EAPC), myself as Chair of the Scientific Committee, Vaclav Hampl (Rector of Charles University Prague) and by the Czech Minister of Health Leos Heger. The support from both the local academic setting as well as the political support from the minister of health was most reassuring, and made participants feel at home in the ‘Golden City’ of Prague.

Even before the opening some serious work had been done in a number of workshops. The Workshop on the Role of Volunteers in Palliative Care brought together volunteers from different countries in Europe and discussed the different perceptions, roles and barriers encountered in volunteer work. This exchange was an important step towards setting up an EAPC Task Force on Volunteers.

Workshop on volunteers

Workshop on volunteers

The first plenary session highlighted the history of palliative care, and the lessons to be learned as well as challenges we face today, told by one of the pioneers of palliative care, former EAPC board member, René Schaerer. He managed to span the time from the early days of the EAPC to the future in his Floriani Award lecture.

Australian researcher, Meera Agar, presented her research results on treatment of delirium in palliative care patients, for which she had received the Early Researcher Award of the EAPC.

Early Researcher Award presented to Meera Agar

Early Researcher Award presented to Meera Agar

Following the plenaries a number of parallel sessions with a wide range of topics made for a difficult choice. In the parallel session on ethics and end-of-life decisions, Paul van den Berghe and Friedemann Nauck discussed the relationship of euthanasia and palliative care. Paul van den Berghe described the problems faced in a country that has a legislation permitting euthanasia, and Friedemann Nauck explained the problems and incompatibilities of euthanasia and palliative care, and emphasized the normative standpoint of the EAPC, that euthanasia should not be part of palliative care.

The parallel session on leadership attracted a larger number of participants, indicating that palliative care seems to be growing out of the phase where individual pioneers work in isolated places, and that leadership in teams, services and networks is of growing importance. Agnes Czikos gave the example of her own journey in the Leadership Development Initiative (chaired by Frank Ferris), and Carl-Johan Fürst explained the framework for mentorship. David Currow explained how to set up clinical networks, and Stein Kaasa gave some highlights from the Palliative Care Research Network of EAPC.

With such a full programme and strong content participants need to take a break – another opportunity to network and share experiences

With such a full programme and strong content participants need to take a break – another opportunity to network and share experiences

A congress is not only shaped by the invited speakers, but also the participants, who enjoyed discussing the lectures, and many of whom presented posters or free communications on their own research or clinical experiences.

Meeting point: EAPC booth

Meeting point: EAPC booth

The EAPC booth saw a lot of visitors, offering information on the EAPC social media activities; EAPC taskforces or other EAPC activities. Participants could also pick up a copy of the brand new Atlas of Palliative Care (2nd edition) released at the congress by the EAPC Taskforce on Development of Palliative Care in Europe chaired by Carlos Centeno.

We hope that the participants enjoy the congress, and will enjoy it until the closing ceremony later this morning!

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4 Responses to News from Prague – the 13th World Congress on palliative care

  1. Davd Oliviere says:

    Thank you for a brilliant congress, A very full programme – congratulations to all concerned!

  2. David Clark says:

    Looking forward now to working with Carlos Centeno and the Task Force team to monitor the impact of the European Atlas and the level of knowledge transfer. Good wishes. David Clark

  3. Nahla Gafer says:

    Coming from a country where there is only a single service of Palliative Care … seeing all those experts it makes me feel that the future of PC in Europe (and the world) is in great hands. The congress was like a beautiful picnic for me and I met for the first time people with whom I have been in contact only by e-mail: … Eminent: Frank Ferris, Joan Marston, Augusto Caraceni, Liliana de Lima, Lina Rozo, Ana Restrepo … to name a few. I came also to know a group of Arab PC specialist.
    Not like any conference I attended before … all sessions relevant and all breaks fruitful. Great thanks to the organizers.

  4. logacare says:

    Awesome post. It is informative……….

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