Public invited to attend seminar on palliative care

The public are invited to attend an information day this Saturday as part of the International Palliative Medicine Conference organised by Galway University Hospitals.

Palliative care is defined as the holistic management of pain in progressive diseases. The public day of the third International Palliative Medicine Conference will explore the who, what, where, how, and why of palliative care service delivery in Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon. The session will give information on what palliative care is and how it can be managed, and explore what options are available.

“We have worked with local and national charities and our colleagues in Galway Hospice Foundation, Cancer Care West, and the Roscommon and Mayo Homecare teams to organise the Saturday session which comprises an open day for the general public,” Dr Dympna Waldron, the organiser of the conference, entitled Cuisle Beatha (The Pulse of Life ), explained. “By exploring the historic development of palliative care service, where our services have reached to this day, where we aspire to develop into the future, we hope to allay the myths of palliative care. A session will also be devoted to an expert committee exploring questions posed by the general public. We sincerely hope by holding this open day we can dissipate the fears of palliative care that remain to this day around the belief that palliative care is consumed with the ‘dying phase’. Yet our belief and our experience is that our role remains, and we are committed to it, to help our patients to live well despite advanced disease, and focus on improving a person’s physical reality and address relevant quality of life issues within living well. We encourage anyone interested to come along and submit any questions or concerns they may have in advance through our website as there will also be a Q&A session in the early afternoon.”

The format of the conference includes presentations, discussions, and stands by service care providers, charities, and care associations

The first day of Cuisle Beatha is a full day devoted to the exploration of cancer pain versus chronic, non-malignant, pain and is geared at medical and healthcare professionals. “As palliative medicine is still a relatively new speciality, most pioneering specialists have concentrated on service delivery, maybe now we have reached a crossroads in cancer pain research, one road leading to the development of cancer pain research as a separate entity to all other types of pain,” Dr Waldron explained. “Dr David Finn, Professor Irene Tracy, Professor Anthony Dickenson, Dr Anthony Byrne, Dr John Browne, Dr Mary Devins, and myself will together combine to explore pain pathways, brain alteration, the expression of cancer and chronic pain, and look to the definitions of cancer pain and chronic pain. We hope to address and answer questions such as is the definition of ‘pain’ universal or are there fundamental differences in ‘cancer pain’ versus ‘chronic non-malignant pain’ that require reconceptualisation.”

Dr Frank Brennan has written extensively on the human rights dimensions of pain management and palliative care and will be relaying stories of patients in his Saturday morning public address.

The conference opens at 9am tomorrow (Friday ) in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, with the public session running on Saturday from 9am to 2.15pm. Entrance to the Saturday session is free of charge.

For further information on the conference, to register, and to submit questions for the panel go to www.cuislebeatha.ie or call (091 ) 591222.

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