Sunday, February 18, 2007

Review of the AAHPM Annual Assembly - Sinclair

Well the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine put on another great Assembly this year in Salt Lake City. (Next year it will be in Tampa.) There were some great presentations, and of the four presentations I was involved with they all went pretty well, although I would have loved to see more people at the Professionals-in-Training Case Conference Saturday morning, because honestly the cases presented there touched on some of the great things about our field (educationally, intellectually, socially and more). And nowhere at the Assembly can you really hear about focused cases (you get some of this in the paper sessions but that is more research oriented, and the poster session doesn't have the same feel as a 15 minute case review).

I wanted to comment on the sessions that I really felt were outstanding. The first one being the Heaven & Hell session. Dr. Boal covered the major Eastern and Western Religions view of the afterlife, and made some good points about approaching patients that are having difficulty reconciling issues and concerns about the after life. For a non-chaplain, he did a good job and answered some questions well about the other Christian denominations he did not have time to touch on. A gentleman sitting in front of me at that session, made a fine point afterwards: "If we enter the patients room with a sense of humility and understanding that we DO NOT ALWAYS have to know the answer, we will serve our patients well." (That was paraphrased but fairly close to what he said). (Heaven and Hell: Understanding Your Patient’s View of the Afterlife (304) James Scott Boal, MD, Angela Hospice)

I was interested to find out there is some data from the laboratory that bone pain may have a neuropathic component and that we should consider anti-neuropathic pain medications when treating bone pain. (Cancer Pain: From the Laboratory to the Clinic (313) Pat Mantyh, PhD JD, University of Minnesota)

There was a lot of information at the conference that was important to the continuation of our field, in particular the issues around moving to the ACGME for fellowship training, and moving from the ABHPM to the ABMS. Most of the information you may need can be found on the respective websites, but it was good to hear what is coming down the pipeline from the people who are preparing this transition.

One of the better sessions I went to (although it did run a bit long, because she had so much to cover) was Care of the Dying Infant: Before and After Birth (423) by Jeanne G. Lewandowski, MD FAAHPM, Hospices of Henry Ford. Please see her handout on the CD for more information. Palliative care really has a lot of work to do in the pediatric world. This is really tip of the iceberg stuff.

Other than that, I enjoyed getting to see old friends, work with members of the Professionals in Training Special Interest Group (SIG) and the Fellowship Directors SIG in forming the foundation of education for our field. It was also great getting feedback from all the Pallimed readers and matching up names with some of the people who make comments, like Tom and Marachne (not maraschino). I also found out there are a lot more of you readers out there who don't comment. Please feel free to and if the technology is inhibiting you or the fear of repercussion exists, use an alias or comment anonymously. We can build a great community here that can make an impact on the field through sharing of knowledge, opinions and experience.

And to all our first time readers or those that have rediscovered us, WELCOME! (You may want to look at this beginners guide to Pallimed post.)

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