ONLY 112 DAYS TO #EAPC2019 …
AHEAD OF THE 16TH WORLD CONGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION FOR PALLIATIVE CARE – BERLIN, GERMANY, 23-25 MAY 2019 – WE BRING YOU THE FIRST OF SOME SPECIAL POSTS TO WELCOME YOU TO BERLIN.
Today, Lukas Radbruch, President of the German Association for Palliative Medicine, reflects on the past 25 years of the association and invites you to help them celebrate in Berlin.
This year, the German Association for Palliative Medicine (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Palliativmedizin, DGP) is having its 25th anniversary. It is now a quarter of a century since a small group of dedicated pioneers got around a table in the first palliative care unit in Cologne for the founding meeting of the association. So, has it been worth it?
That association has now grown from the 14 founding members to nearly 6,000 members and represents all levels and all settings of hospice and palliative care. I have the honour to serve as president of the association, following a list of distinguished predecessors including Heinz Pichlmaier, Eberhard Klaschik, H. Christof Müller-Busch and Friedemann Nauck. The board of directors currently includes physicians, nurses and a psychologist, but has also included a number of other professions. Board members are working in palliative care units, in hospices, in home care or in general practice.
The association is acknowledged as a major stakeholder in all developments related to the provision of care of severely ill and dying patients, either regulatory or legislative, in Germany.
The development of the association has not been without challenges. The association was set up as a medical association and, in consequence, initially had only physicians as full members, as this was a prerequisite for acknowledgement as a medical scientific association. Other healthcare professionals were only registered as associate members. It took some time to find a solution, but then the association set up different sections for each profession, with full membership for all members in all sections. By now, nearly half of the members are from professions other than physicians, organised in ten sections. The DGP has a rich and vibrant life not only in the sections, but also in a large number of working groups and task forces, and has also encouraged the foundation of subgroups in the different federal states of Germany.
The DGP organises biennial congresses in different parts of Germany, serving as a platform for exchange for more than 1,200 participants, and has hosted smaller conferences and membership meetings in the years between.
Listing all the contributions of the association would be beyond the limits of this post, but here are just a few of our major achievements in recent years:
- A Charter for the Care of the Severely Ill and Dying in Germany.
- Leading the development of evidence-based guidelines for palliative care for patients with advanced cancer (part two is now in the making).
- Implementation of a national hospice and palliative care directory.
- Setting up a national palliative care registry.
- Initiating a certification procedure for palliative care units.
You can also read about our projects in English in our booklet: ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Palliativmedizin – Focussing on patients and families’.
Looking back, I think you will agree that it was worth it. So much has been achieved in these 25 years. However, there is no time to rest on our laurels. There is still so much to do in order to provide high-quality palliative care to every patient who needs it. We look forward to tackling the next 25 years …
Join us …
We will celebrate on the day before the EAPC World Congress in Berlin, on 22 May, with a big party. International guests will be very welcome to celebrate with us and warm up for #EAPC2019! (Party animals, please email Sabine Simon).
And for those who never get enough:the DGP, together with the German Hospice and Palliative Care Society, the Austrian Hospice Group and the EAPC Task Force on Volunteering, is organising an International Symposium on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care on Saturday, 25 May, in the wake of the EAPC World Congress. The symposium will be held from 10.00 to 17.00 with English/German simultaneous translation. You are welcome!