From November 12-14, over 1,000 palliative care professionals gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the 2015 CAPC National Seminar. This year’s theme was “Palliative Care Everywhere: Bridging the Gaps”. Throughout the presentations, discussions and posters, there was an emphasis on palliative care in community settings, especially in the inaugural pre-conference boot camp that took place on November 11. As Diane E. Meier, MD, asked attendees to do in the plenary sessions, “Imagine palliative care everywhere!” She noted the gap in palliative care for patients who are not terminal and not in the hospital. The conference addressed how to work successfully with community organizations to bridge the gap and increase the access to palliative care.
Here’s what attendees had to say:
Amy Berman, BS, RN, Senior Program Officer for the John A. Hartford Foundation, kicked off the seminar on Thursday morning with the keynote address, “It’s all About Relationships”. She shared her experience living with Stage IV breast cancer, her health care choices and palliative care. Noting that care that does not match patient values is not valuable care, she discussed the implications palliative care has on patients, practice and policy. She highlighted why the relationship between clinicians and seriously ill patients who are coping with important medical decisions is so important.
Thursday afternoon, Bruce Leff, MD, discussed how palliative care and primary care together can improve the care of homebound patients. He explored how best to proceed given the lack of strong quality measurement.
On Friday morning, Diane E. Meier, MD, presented the 2015 CAPC Innovation Award to Susan D. Block, MD, Chair, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, for her national leadership in palliative care. The award serves as the field’s most distinguished honor specifically focusing on innovation in palliative care.
Thomas H. Lee, MD, MSc presented, “Why Are We Here? The Role of Clinicians in Reducing Suffering” on Friday afternoon. Attendees learned about the various sources of suffering, the impact of suffering on clinicians and how to minimize the gap between goals and operations.
In Saturday morning’s plenary session, Anthony Back, MD, explored strategies for self-care as an integral aspect of developing and maintaining professional resiliency and avoiding clinician burnout. Key takeaways from attendees included the 8 essential resilience skills including managing energy. Attendees learned that monitoring your energy makes you more effective.