Monday, March 7, 2016

2016 AAHPM and HPNA Annual Assembly Preview - General

by Christian Sinclair

In the early days of Pallimed, we would commonly run a preview over several posts in anticipation of the Annual Assembly meeting since it is the key conference for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association (HPNA). We stopped doing it for unclear reasons, but last year two different people asked me about it at the meeting, so let's bring it back!

The 2016 meeting is this week in Chicago (home to AAHPM) and runs from Wednesday pre-conferences to Saturday afternoon. Check out the full brochure and listings here.

If you are going and a fan of Pallimed, it would be good to do three things first:

  1. Tell us you are going to Chicago on our Facebook Event page, and share what you are learning. 
  2. Brush off your Twitter account so you can follow the conference, share what you learn and spread the good news of palliative care. (This one is good even if you won't be in Chicago!)
  3. And finally come to the 10th Pallimed / GeriPal Party on Thursday night!
And now on to the general preview!

General Highlights
If you have not figured it out already, the hotel and the Assembly are in the exact same building. I think this is pretty neat, and will give lots of opportunities to run into each other. It also means your phone chargers will never be far. Chicago is a great city to explore so if you are feeling a little penned in, then you have a few places that can reinvigorate you not far away.

The education is great, I always bring back new ideas to share with my peers. I am most excited about the chance to see old friends, meet online friends (IRL!), and discover new people who have many wonderful things to add to this community. So if you see me, come say hello and do not be shy.

Unique and New Aspects
I do not recall if this is the first year, but early-riser concurrent sessions are here. I'm more of a night owl myself but for the lineups they have Friday and Saturday for these 7-8a sessions. You'll want to get up early too. With titles like Don't Be a Boiling Frog: Take Action to Prevent Burnout and speakers like Ira Byock, Mellar Davis, Janet Bull, and Jeri Miller, I'm sure you'll be there.

End-of-Life Conversations at Dinner returns this year. The slots are all booked, but you may want to check with conference staff if there is a wait list. I heard really good things about this last year. Plus you'll still get done in time to meet us for the Pallimed / GeriPal party. Have I told you about that yet?

It may be too late to read the whole book, but The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son and the Evolution of Medical Ethics is the book club selection this year. We don't have a review up on Pallimed for this book, but if you read it for the book club and would like to write something up, we'd love to see it.

And in the super cool but probably totally booked department, Hatha Yoga on Thursday and Friday morning for getting your mind and body ready for a full day of palliative care learning. And unique to the Chicago location to museum tours at The Art Institute of Chicago. If you can't get in on these tours, you can always stop by on your own free time, but wow, what a neat excursion. You probably missed out on staying the night in Van Gogh's bedroom too. The museum is open 10:30-5:00 each day, except for Thursday when it stays open until 8pm.

Do Not Miss
Another general highlight which is often an undiscovered gem are the paper sessions and the case sessions. Check your program when you get there as the descriptions for these are not in the overall brochure and you don't want to miss papers or cases which resonate with you.

You may not think it is interesting, but the business meetings for both organizations (Friday) are critically important. If you have never been, grab a friend and go. You'll learn where your membership dues go, and understand just how much is being done in the field.

Get to a Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting if you have not been to one. There are over 25 now for AAHPM, and several for HPNA. If some unique part of our field really interests you, then find like-minded souls and make something great together. It always surprises me how many attendees who have been to this meeting numerous times, have never been to a SIG meeting.

And please come to the Pallimed / GeriPal Party on Thursday night. 10 years we've doing this! It's fun!

Don't forget to check out the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday previews which will be published Tuesday!

Christian Sinclair, MD, FAAHPM is editor of Pallimed, president-elect of AAHPM, and a palliative care doctor at the University of Kansas.

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