The the annual Palliative Care NSW Professional Development Education Forum was held at Campbelltown Hospital on Friday the 26th May 2017.

Members and attendees heard from a diverse range of speakers on palliative care, aging and frailty, gynaecological oncology, HIV and aging, residential aged care, the medicinal cannabis compassionate use scheme and an update from the Agency for Clinical Innovation.

Missed it? Here are a few comments from presenters:

“I think the biggest problem is ignorance, ignorance of what palliative care is. Less than 30% of our work is end of life care, 70% is supportive care…that’s why we changed our name a few years ago to palliative and supportive care…one of the effects (of the name change) was a 30% jump in referrals in the first month” Dr Philip Lee, staff specialist Palliative and Supportive Care

“It’s not a legislative scheme but provides guidance to NSW police to provide leniency to people who are registered 'medicinal cannabis compassionate use scheme' users if found in possession of a (cannabinoid) substance” Suzanne Pierce, Director Policy, Science and Research with the NSW Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation speaking about the work of the centre and the medicinal cannabis compassionate use scheme (MCCS).

“In 2014-15 there were 231,000 residents with ACFI appraisals but only 1 in 25 indicated a need for palliative care. Of course the need is higher but the under-reporting is a feature of funding incentives – and what it means is that we don’t do end of life strategies like advance care plans, case conferences…” Joanne Russell, Chair, Palliative Aged Care Network.

“When you were managing people with HIV in the 1980s you saw AIDS, lots of death and illness…now people are living longer, if they stay on their meds, which is great, but of course they have other health issues which are made worse with aging” Catherine Brown, sexual health and forensic physician, Clinical AP with University of Sydney and University of Wollongong.

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Pic: Dr Philip Lee