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Annual Conference 2015

From Worms, Butterflies and Veils to Outcomes

Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Annual Conference

The SPPC annual conference took place on Wednesday 23 September 2015, at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Featuring a mix of high quality speakers and delegate interaction the event provided:

A report of the day is available on eHospice.

Poster displays are available here: poster presentations.

Many of the speaker presentations and workshop slides are available below.


The Worm at the Core

Sheldon Solomon,Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Exploring death anxiety as the hidden driver of human behaviours and its implications for the practice of palliative care, for raising public awareness of end of life issues, and for leading lives of courage, creativity and compassion.

Gaelic Lament for the Dead

Introduced by Mark Sheridan, Reader in Music and Creativity at the University of the Highlands and Islands. A summary of Mark Sheridan's introduction is available here: Gaelic Lament for the Dead.

Ambitions for Palliative Care in Scotland

Shona Robison MSP,Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport

Includes time for questions and answers.

Butterfies Film

Children talk about their experiences of loss and grief; a film from the 5 year project supporting children and young people through challenging times, introduced by Elaine Rae, Manager of Patient and Family Services, St Vincent's Hospice.

Lifting the Veil on Breathlessness

Miriam Johnson, Professor of Palliative Medicine, Hull York Medical School.

Many people with refractory breathlessness (persistent despite optimal management of the underlying condition(s)) continue to manage this very common and difficult symptom largely without recourse to clinical help, despite recent advances in evidence and practice. What is to be done?

PowerPoint slides are available here: Miriam Johnson

Everyone’s Talking About Outcomes

Fliss Murtagh, Reader and Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Kings College London.

Everyone’s Talking About Outcomes - but what precisely are they, why are they important; what and how should we measure in palliative and end of life care? PowerPoint slides are available here: Fliss Murtagh

Signal to Noise: Meeting palliative care needs of frail older people in hospital

Deans Buchanan, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, NHS Tayside

Changing demographics plus inherent limits to planning and choice mean that many frail older people will spend time and die in hospital. There is therefore a need for a positive vision and a plan for what can be achieved. PowerPoint slides are available here: Deans Buchanan.

Breakout Sessions:

“It’s all about informed discussions, informed decisions and informed care”

Kirsty Boyd, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, NHS Lothian and Patricia Brooks Young, Lead Nurse & Clinical Researcher in Palliative Care, Napier University/NHS Lothian

This session shared learning from NHS Lothian’s systematic and ongoing work to improve palliative and end of life care in hospital, from reliable and consistent sharing of information to ensuring the right sorts of conversations happen at the right times. PowerPoint slides are available here.

Dancing to a different tune: Living and dying with cancer, organ failure and physical frailty

Marilyn Kendall, Research Fellow, Primary Palliative Care Group, University of Edinburgh

Understanding how different patient groups perceive their deteriorating health and approaching death is a pre-requisite for developing models of care. Drawing on 828 in-depth interviews with 156 patients this presentation will explore narratives of living and dying with different conditions, drawing conclusions with important implications for care. PowerPoint slides are available here.

What’s your song? The work of Playlist for Life

Andy Lowndes, Research Fellow/Lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University and Deputy Chair, Playlist for Life
Exploring the role of reminiscence and cognitive stimulation therapy for people with dementia,including the work of Play List for Life. PowerPoint slides are available here.

More details

Full programme for the day is available here Conference Programme. More information about the speakers is available here: Speaker Biographies.

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