Monday, February 16, 2009

AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assembly Preview: Thursday

(In 2007 and 2008 I posted previews for the AAHPM/HPNA Annual Assemblies. I started doing the preview because one of my favorite things about conferences is talking to other people to see what they are interested in, so feel free to comment on which sessions you are excited about. If you are giving any of these talks, I encourage you to leave some comments to get more people aware of your talk. There are some good ones!

This year the Annual Assembly is in Austin, TX from Wednesday March 25th until Saturday, March 28th.)

(Previous posts - Conference Overview, Wed Pre-Cons - AAHPM, Wed Pre-Cons - HPNA)

For the rest of the days of the conference I am not going to mention every single talk but point out what I feel are the highlights of the day, or if I just want to make a silly/witty/whatever comment on a particular title.

Opening Plenary Session: The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Palliative Care
Eric Cassell, MD MACP, Weill Medical College of Cornell University & Betty Ferrell, PhD RN FAAN, City of Hope

This sounds like a great plenary session to open the main conference. I am very excited to hear these two talk about how people interpret suffering within themselves and see the suffering of others. I have not yet read Cassell's classic 1991 book "The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine" so if any readers would like to comment on their experience with that book please do. I am sure this talk will make me want to go out to buy it soon after the conference.

Autonomy Run Amok: Refashioning End-of-Life Decision Making
J. Andrew Billings, MD, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital

My peers from Kansas City have all agreed this is the talk we want to go to for the early session. Billings is a great speaker and the theme of autonomy runs through much of medical decision making in palliative care. When autonomy stomps all over other ethical principles the debris left over could be labeled moral distress

AAHPM/PDIA Community Leadership Award Presentation: Pallimed Founder and Contributors:
Drew Rosielle, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin
Christian T. Sinclair, MD, Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care

What a fascinating pair of speakers! I already know you will be astounded by the verbal gymnastics and striking visual images compiled to entertain and inform. Seriously, we are just very humbly pleased to be formally recognized and would love to see you at the awards ceremony. Yes you have to pay $30 for lunch but we hope to see you there!

Special Interest group (SIG) Symposia:
A Fulfilling Practice in Hospice and Palliative Medicine: How Do
You Get There?
Giovanni Elia, MD, San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine

One of the first sessions presented by a SIG. This is a great way for the SIG's to get involved and present topics relevant to their membership. This one is really a forum of different HPM doctors talking about all the different ways to be a hospice and palliative medicine physicians. The variety of clinical arenas and involvement would surprise most people outside our field.

Controversies in Forgoing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Pediatric Palliative Care
David M. Steinhorn, MD, Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University
Melody L. Hellsten, MS APRN-BC PNP, University of Texas Health Science Center–San Antonio
Joel E. Frader, MD, Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University

On one hand an acceptable medical practice for adults should apply in principle to children as well. But what are the issues and qualities of pediatric care that actually change parts of the equation? It cannot simply be surrogate decision making since the same issues apply to patients with dementia or other impaired decision making. But those of us who have worked with pediatric palliative care challenges understand this 'feels' different. I am glad this issue is being explored at this conference.

Update on Palliative Care for Patients with HIV/AIDS: Inpatient, Outpatient, and International Perspectives
Jessica Merlin, MD MBA, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Peter Selwyn, MD MPH, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Rodney O. Tucker, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Palliative Care
Liliana De Lima, MHA, International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care
Mimi Rivard, MSN APN, St. Vincent’s Medical Center

I don't have much to say about the talk itself besides noting the diminishing HIV patient population in palliative care arenas with the advent of HAART has made the current crop of palliative care trainees less aware of HIV Palliative Care treatment options. I did want to point out the name Jessica Merlin a ID fellow with a strong interest in Palliative Care who is also the Vice Chair of the Professionals in Training SIG. The fact that she got this talk submitted and accepted with such a strong slate of speakers is impressive for not even really being in our field yet and still an ID fellow. She impressed a lot of people with her energy at last year's meeting.

Working in the World of Chronic Kidney Disease: Where, Oh Where, Is Palliative Care?
Charles V. Wellman, MD FAAHPM
Janice Scheufler, RPh PharmD FASCP
Hospice of the Western Reserve

Any bets on if they will sing in this session? A nominee for best title this year. And a good topic given the seeming conflict between the Medicare Hospice Benefit and the Medicare Dialysis Benefit.

Case Conference I

While a non-descript name, this session and the other three have been a product of the PIT-SIG to highlight rising learners in palliative care from multiple disciplines. I will have an upcoming post featuring the various topics and speakers. Try to get to at least one.

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