Dr Piotr Sobanski, Chair of the European Association for Palliative Care Task Force on Palliative Care for People with Heart Disease, reports on a recent conference held in Poland that could be the first step for a joint programme of care for people with heart disease.
Provision of palliative care for people with heart disease demands cooperation and dialogue between the specialities involved in the care. Nurses and physicians representing palliative care and cardiology, as well as representatives of non-medical professions such as ethicists, spiritual care specialists and physiotherapists, met recently in Bydgoszcz, Poland, at a workshop and conference: Winter Summit in Palliative Medicine.
The leading topics were palliative care for people with heart failure and spiritual care in palliative care. The event was organised under the auspices of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), the Heart Failure Association of the Polish Cardiac Society, the Polish Association for Spiritual Care in Medicine, and three Polish medical universities: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Medical University in Gdansk, and Collegium Medicum of Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
During the first day, Professor Christina Puchalski from George Washington University, Washington, DC, US, delivered a workshop to a group of Polish teachers of spirituality for students in medical universities. The second part of the day was dedicated to palliative care for people with heart failure. The members of the EAPC Task Force on Palliative Care for People with Heart Failure present at the conference – Prof. Sarah Goodlin (US), Prof. Malgorzata Krajnik (Poland), Prof. Philip Larkin (Ireland), Prof. Manuel Martinez-Selles (Spain) and Dr Piotr Sobanski (Switzerland) – analysed the progress of current work and discussed upcoming activities of the task force. They strengthened the interprofessional and interdisciplinary group of experts participating in the workshop, working both in cardiology (representing the most prominent Polish heart failure centres) and palliative care. During this workshop, the needs for palliative care provision, possible structures of care and the conditions needed to organise the requisite care were discussed.
Declaration calls for improved access to palliative care for people with heart failure
At the end of the meeting, participants signed a declaration stressing the urgent need for the improvement of access to palliative care for people with heart failure. The declaration received the endorsement of Prof. Philip Larkin, the President of the EAPC, the Heart Failure Association of the Polish Cardiac Society, the Polish Society for Palliative Medicine, the Polish Association for Spiritual Care in Medicine, and the Polish Society of Internal Medicine. The process to seek EAPC endorsement for this declaration is now under way. The broad endorsement received by the declaration shows how strongly medical societies in Poland appreciate the urgent need to improve the provision of palliative care for people with heart failure.
During the summit, invited lecturers shared with conference participants their expertise in the field of spirituality, palliative care and cardiology. The lively discussions on the presented topics, and the interest the participants expressed in similar future congresses gathering together the palliative and cardiology communities, shows the importance of the dialogue between the disciplines to facilitate cooperation.
We are convinced that the conference has been the very first step in a new future for a joint programme of care for people with heart disease.
Links and resources
- View video interviews with Prof Sarah Goodlin and Prof Philip Larkin addressing the medical community in Poland:
- Where is Palliative care in Europe heading? An interview with Prof Philip Larkin, President of the EAPC.
- How palliative care can help people with heart failure: An interview with Prof Sarah Goodlin, Chief of Geriatrics, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and President of Patient-Centered Education and Research in Salt Lake City, USA.
- Contact Dr Piotr Sobanski by email.