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PHN's First Symposium on Palliative and End-of-Life Care Receives High Acclaim

The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) held its inaugural Palliative and End-of-Life Care Symposium at Belmont 16s Sailing Club on Friday 14th June, with 75 per cent of delegates rating the symposium ‘five stars’.

With approximately 100 face-to-face attendees and 200 virtual attendees and featuring an impressive line-up of speakers and presenters, the event was hailed as a great success. Delegates were from a wide range of professions including palliative care nurses and doctors, health facility managers, general practitioners, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, doulas, nurse educators, bereavement coordinators, ACAT assessors, academics and gerontologists.

Facilitated by MC Jane Gray, an experienced health service leader, facilitator and meditation teacher, the symposium featured a keynote presentation delivered by Professor Liz Reymond, palliative care physician of 20+ years and Director of Queensland Voluntary Assisted Dying Support & Pharmacy Service. Prof Reymond discussed how she established Queensland’s largest multidisciplinary specialist palliative care service and the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, a research and service development arm of the clinical service.

The objective of the symposium was to educate and enable palliative and end-of-life care professionals to provide an increasing choice and autonomy for more people to be cared for and to die at home, if that is their preference. The symposium also aimed to improve equity of access to the best palliative care services at home, explore innovative models of palliative care, support people to manage their end-of-life journey in the community and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.

HNECC PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis, said the symposium was an example of how the PHN is working towards their purpose of increasing equity of access to primary care services. “The PHN Palliative Care and Care for Older People Team designed the symposium to educate health care professionals on providing best practice, person-centred palliative care for diverse populations across the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions. Conversation regarding voluntary assisted dying was robust and it was great to see so many health professionals engaging for the benefit of our community.”

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Excellent range of presenters with lots of useful information.

Great interdisciplinary forum and opportunities to hear other people.

Symposium Delegates

A panel including Dr Charles Douglas, Clinical Director for Voluntary Assisted Dying for the Hunter New England Local Health District, Professor Liz Reymond and Prue Eakin, Central Coast Local Health District Voluntary Assisted Dying Program Coordinator, discussed voluntary assisted dying.

A range of palliative and end-of-life care service providers including Palliative Care NSW, LGBTQI+ Health Australia, BaptistCare at Home, Carers NSW, Hunter Cancer Hub, Beam Services and Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program & Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PACOP & PCOC) were also in attendance to provide delegates with support and resources.

At the symposium opening, delegates were asked ‘what qualities do you try to bring to your interactions with people who are dying and their families?’ the following word cloud provides a summary of their responses.

The PHN would like to extend its appreciation to all speakers, supporting organisations and delegates for making the inaugural event a great success.

Those interested in watching the livestreaming recordings and/or accessing the presentation files can do so through the PHN education library.

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