Dr Corinne Cohen Peimer shares her personal highlights from the 13th EAPC World Congress held in Prague on 29 May to 2 June 2013.
I am an American family medicine physician who recently moved to Switzerland, and I’ve worked in a hospice in the town of Blonay since December 2012. I was invited to attend the 13th EAPC World Congress in Prague by my good friend and nurse colleague, Esther Schmidlin, who also happens to sit on the EAPC board. Having heard much about the EAPC from Esther over the years, I was eager for my own hands-on discovery of the organisation and its biennial congress. As a ‘first-timer’, I will share some of my impressions, perhaps reinforcing what many of you have experienced several times, and hopefully enticing those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to attend to come along to the next EAPC congress.
The Prague Congress has been striking in its breadth and impact. I have attended lectures, discussions, presentations and videos with topics ranging from the ethics of euthanasia to the gifts of grief; from technological advances in pain management to the importance of ensuring basic access to morphine; from the inclusion of spirituality in palliative care to the inclusion of palliative care in public health; and from dealing with dementia to dealing with patients who have external cardiac defibrillators. Some sessions have been eye opening, some reconfirming, some humbling, some gut wrenching, and some grounding. I have shed a few tears with my colleagues, but also a few giggles. I have been stunned by the scope of research – not only in the extent of topics covered, but also in the number of countries represented. And, most importantly, I have been struck by the other conference attendees. Perhaps the most memorable moments will be those passed during the coffee breaks, hashing out the impact that the flood of information will have on our individual practices, sorting out what we will take home with us, interpreting and incorporating the dilemmas into our own daily approaches to palliative care.
Stepping away from my clinical practice into a world of research and discussion has been enlightening. But the power of the information learned has been equalled only by the power of being surrounded by so many individuals who share a common passion, heightened by the presence of a myriad of backgrounds. The interdisciplinary emphasis on communication that exists at my hospice is taken to a new level and new importance here, amidst 2,000+ attendees from dozens of countries and a wide variety of professions. I feel privileged to have participated in such a gathering, and look forward to bringing at least a couple of pearls from this sea of wisdom back to my colleagues at home.
I offer my sincere thanks for an excellent experience, especially to all of you who spent countless hours making this weekend not only possible, but also incredible.
Find out more…
- PowerPoint presentations from the 13th EAPC World Congress will soon be available to view on the EAPC website. Please follow the Blog, Facebook, and Twitter @EAPCOnlus feeds for further announcements.
- The 8th EAPC World Research Congress will be held in Lleida, near Barcelona, Spain on 5-7 June 2014.
- The 14th World Congress of the EAPC: Building Bridges will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 8-10 May 2015.
We’ll be publishing more stories from the Prague Congress during the next days and weeks.