Dr Andrew Olagunju, Lecturer/Consultant Physician, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria, received a special commendation in the EAPC’s Early Researcher Award category at this year’s congress. Here he reflects on some important learning points from the congress and how they may impact on his work in Nigeria.
It’s been a few weeks since the 8th EAPC World Research Congress was held in the beautiful city of Lleida, Spain. For many reasons, this congress certainly lived up to expectations – not only did it bring together researchers from all continents of the world, but it offered rich sessions traversing various aspects of palliative care research.
To start with, my reflections wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the recognition of our work in Nigeria with a special award by the EAPC. This award was the main reason for my attendance at the congress and I am very grateful to the EAPC for the award, as well as the privilege to participate in this historic world research congress.
Beyond the renewed impetus that my attendance at the congress has had on my work in palliative care, I’d like to mention a few key lessons that are particularly relevant to my professional involvement with palliative care: research, training and the care of people with palliative care needs.
First, the importance of the role of caregivers in palliative care and the impact on their wellbeing caught my attention. Of course, caregivers in Nigeria, and in most African settings, are typically made up of relatives who are often responsible for decisions about pathway to care, patient navigation, out-of-pocket payment, and psychosocial support; aside from being directly involved in the care of family members. It became clear to me that enough attention has not been paid to the wellbeing of caregivers in the context of clinical services, research and training despite their playing a cardinal role in palliative care. Consequently, I am developing a protocol to assess the magnitude of the gap in the psychosocial needs of caregivers, which will be translated into practice.
Another important lesson borders on the need to integrate the measurement of outcome into clinical practice of palliative care. This was reiterated in many sessions, including Professor Paul Glare’s presentation and the plenary lecture given by Professor David Currow. I am convinced this will provide answers on the quality of work we are doing, by pointing out its direct benefits to the patients and families as well as indicating areas for improvement.
Lastly, the importance of networking and research collaboration was exemplified in many ways in presentations. The breaks and other free periods were a great opportunity to collaborate, and contribute to ongoing works. Such networking among professionals across various boundaries encourages me to envisage a promising future for palliative care.
Links and resources…
- Selected presentations from the 8th EAPC World Research Congress are now on the EAPC website.
- You can read other posts about the 8th EAPC World Research Congress on the EAPC blog.
- Read an interview with Dr Andrew Olagunju in ehospice.
EAPC Early Researcher Award 2015 – online application now open!
Applications are welcomed from scientists and clinicians who are at an early stage of their research career in palliative care. Candidates who have already applied for the award in previous years are invited to reapply. Candidates can apply themselves, or be nominated by their supervisor or similar. Click here for full details, and to apply online.
Closing date: 5 pm, November 30, 2014.