The opening reception was held in the Exhibition/ Poster Hall and was a great opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from around the world who have gathered for the conference.
Many of the participants, planning committee and faculty attended; socializing and visiting the various exhibitor booths. Congress Chair Anna Towers gave a brief speech, welcoming the delegates to what is sure to be an intensive three day congress. Dr Towers welcomed back old friends, and gave a warm welcome to Montreal to all those who have not been before. She encouraged participants to make the most of the congress, enjoying both the presentations, the exhibitions, the posters and of course the networking with friends and colleagues.
Wednesday morning's events began with a welcome from Heather Munroe Blum, President and Chair of McGill University, thanking the delegates for their international contributions to hospice palliative care, and reflecting on Governor General of Canada David Johnson's words, "Canada is a Wise and Caring Nation." Professor Monroe-Blum said that she was honoured to welcome such a wise and caring group.
For the first time the Congress will have live webinar streaming so that palliative care professionals in developing countries can attend the plenary events. Before each plenary there will be a reflection, the first reflection illustrating faith, hope and the redemptive power of hope.
Wednesday's conference plenary was titled, "Stress and Coping for Caregivers" presented by Susan Folkman PhD, University of California San Francisco and Harvey Max Chochinov PhD, University of Manitoba.
Dr Folkman discussed the effect of stress on caregivers, the way it affects someone's social psychological and physical well-being. She explained the stress and the toll caregivers face when caring for someone with a complex and devastating illness. The storm of psychological stress. helplessness, caregiver exhaustion, prediction of death, and depressed mood all contribute to caregiver stress and breakdown. She then discussed the discovery process, and ways caregivers cope in response to a stressful event. Her research can be implemented into all settings of care, and focuses directly on caregiver stress and coping mechanisms.
Harvey Max Chochinov PhD then took to the podium to discuss "dignity therapy" and emerging opportunities in palliative care. His empirical research focused on asking patients about the notion of dignity at the end of life, and what it meant to them. asked what people affiliate with their sense of dignity. He advocated that hospice palliative care professionals need to change they way they see and perceive patients, another aspect of dignity therapy.
Dr Chochinov then showed some excerpts from some of the University of Manitoba's dignity therapy sessions.
Read more about the first plenary session with commentary by Professor Julia Downing- Makerere University Uganda, ICPCN today on ehospice.
Other program highlights from Wednesday October 10th included:
- Research Forum discussion focusing on help in dealing with anxiety or sadness during the end of life.
- The continuation of the paediatric palliative care stream with a focus on student education and palliative sedation.
- A special seminar on the fundamentals of palliative care nursing.
- A special seminar on pharmacotherapy and palliative care
- Workshop: Palliative care in Japan
- Proffered papers: Non-cancer end-of-life care
The sessions were insightful, informative, and extremely varied.
At the International Congress, there truly is something for everyone! Stay tuned for a detailed description of Thursday's plenary and other key events.