iPDF – International Paediatric Palliative Care Discussion Forum Online Now!

The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) launched its first paediatric palliative care initiative, the International Paediatric Palliative Care Discussion Forum, abbreviated as the iPDF, on 20 August 2015.

Conceptualized and implemented by the Paediatric Palliative Care Special Interest Group (PPC SIG) of the APHN, the iPDF will be a free resource platform for all paediatric palliative care workers to ask questions and participate in the latest discussions in children’s palliative care, anytime, anywhere online.

How it all started

Many paediatric palliative care workers in the region are working in isolation. Many cannot travel overseas for training and education. They have no one to ask if they run into trouble. Recognising the need to provide a platform that provides reliable help, is readily accessible, free and easy to use, the PPC SIG decided to fill this gap and start an online resource.

More than just a forum

The iPDF aims to become an online community for practitioners from different disciplines who work in the field of children’s palliative care, to provide networking and mutual support. In addition to being an interactive platform, the iPDF is moderated by a multidisciplinary panel of experts. Participants can be sure that their questions will be responded promptly by the relevant content specialists. Everyone can certainly look forward to many fruitful discussions with equally passionate colleagues around the globe, which has not been possible, until now.

Building capacity in a virtual environment

In conjunction with ongoing discussions, additional articles will be released every few months. These articles will include interviews with our moderators, who will share their own perspectives on the latest news and debates. Summaries of the most talked about topics, most shared answers, and further discussion on interesting projects within iPDF will be sent to participants, to keep everyone up to date on the hottest issues in the field.

Moving forward

The iPDF will continue to engage participants through activities built around this platform. We look forward to the iPDF becoming a resource for all paediatric palliative care workers, not just as a knowledge base but also a source of inspiration.

Join us!

Find out how to sign up for the forum at the APHN PPC site!

The iPDF is hosted on the Google platform. If you have a registered Google account, you may join the forum directly here.

The iPDF is an initiative by the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network. If you will like to help contribute to the initiative or other activities in the APHN, please feel free to contact Joyce at aphn@aphn.org or +65 6235 5166.

International Paediatric Palliative Care Discussion Forum (iPDF) – Starts today!

Promotional PicDear fellow palliative care colleagues

On behalf of the Paediatric Palliative Care Special Interest Group (PPC SIG) of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN), we will like to invite you and your colleagues to join us as we launch our very own discussion forum focusing on children’s palliative care.

Support us by sharing this post with your friends and participate!

To join the forum, all you have to do is

1. Sign up for a Google account (if you do not have one)
2.Click on this link https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/aphn_ipdf!

Our forum is moderated by an international multidisciplinary group of experts which we have gathered to help answer any questions that you may have regarding children’s palliative care.

Click here to find out more.

Invitation to bid – 13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference 2019


The APHN Council is pleased to invite member organizations wishing to host the 13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference 2019 to send in their application to the APHN Secretariat.  Closing date for submission of application and bid documents has been extended till 31 December 2015.

Click here to download the bidding document template and the procedure for application.

Please email the bidding document to aphn@aphn.org.

Please note to send your file as “Bidding document for 13th APHC_<your organization name>”


Paediatric Palliative Care Course in India

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Dear members and friends

Department of Palliative Medicine, Tata Memorial Centre, E Borges Road, Parel, Mumbai is organizing a Training program for doctors and nurses on Children’s Palliative Care (Paediatric Palliative Care). The total duration of the course will be 4 weeks. There would be 3 days of contact session from 1st to 3rd September 2015. The subsequent 2 weeks would be for assignments and case studies from home. The 4th week ( 21st to 25th September 2015) will be hands on training in the Department of Palliative Medicine, Tata Memorial Centre and LTMG Hospital, Sion, Mumbai. The exam will be conducted in October 2015. Tea and Lunch will be provided during 3 days of contact session.

For more information please contact Ms Melba at +91 9819826885.
Click here to download the programme schedule

Deadline for application: 16th August 2015.
Fees: Rs 2000/-.
Venue: 13th Floor, Lecture Hall, Homi Bhabha Block, Tata Memorial Centre, Parel Mumbai- 12, India
Dates to note: 1st, 2nd and 3rd September 2015
Time: 9.30 am to 4. 30 pm

Australasian Palliative Link International Forum: Mentoring into the Future

2015 APLI workshop program

The Australasian Palliative Link International will be having a forum on Monday 31 August, from 2.30 – 6.30pm. Anyone is welcome to join the forum. Registration is free!

Please RSVP your attedence by Friday 28th August.

APHN calling for volunteer writers for the website and monthly newsletter


Dear palliative care workers and volunteers in the Asia Pacific Region, we are calling for volunteers to contribute your stories to our website and newsletter. We welcome any story that you will like to share with us.

This may include

  • Local news on palliative care developments in your country
  • Reports of  past or upcoming workshops, concerts, events and activities in your palliative care community
  • Stories on your work in palliative care, patient stories,
  • Sharing on what you do for self-care (like baking, going on holidays)
  • Patient cases that you will like to bring up for discussion with other palliative care experts
  • ANY OTHER STORY you will like to share

As long as you have an interest in finding out more about palliative care and have some free time to write, please feel free to drop us an email at aphn@aphn.org  or visit our website www.aphn.org to find out more!

If you will like to contribute on a regular basis, we also welcome you to join the APHN editorial team!


Introducing APHN new 15th Governing Council

15th Council

Back row: Mr Kwan Kam Fan, Dr Jeanno Park, Dr Maria Witjaksono, Dr Chun-Kai Fangl, Dr Priyadarshini Kulkarni, Dr Richard Lim, Dr Annie Kwok, Prof Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Prof Satoru Tsuneto, Dr Chong Poh-Heng
Seated: Dr R Akhileswaran, Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, Prof Cynthia Goh, Prof Tetsuo Kashiwagi (Stepped down from 15th Council), Dr Ednin Hamzah 
Absent with apologies: Prof M R Rajagopal, Dr Ghauri Aggarwal, Prof Patsy Yates, Dr Yvonne Luxford, Prof Hyun Sook Kim, Dr Jun-Hua Lee

Associate Professor Cynthia Goh Chairman Elected (Singapore)
Dr Ednin Hamzah Vice-Chairman Co-opted (Malaysia)
Professor M R Rajagopal Vice-Chairman Co-opted (India)
Dr Ghauri Aggarwal Honorary Secretary Co-opted (Australia)
Dr R Akhileswaran Assistant Honorary Secretary Elected (Singapore)
Prof Patsy Yates Honorary Treasurer Appointed (Australia)
Mr Kwan Kam Fan Assistant Honorary Treasurer Appointed (Hong Kong)
Dr Priyadarshini Kulkarni Member Appointed (India)
Dr Maria Witjaksono Member Appointed (Indonesia)
Professor Satoru Tsuneto Member Appointed (Japan)
Dr Jeanno Park Member Appointed (Korea)
Dr Richard Lim Member Appointed (Malaysia)
Dr Yvonne Luxford Member Elected (Australia)
Dr Annie Kwok Member Elected (Hong Kong)
Professor Yoshiyuki Kizawa Member Elected (Japan)
Professor Hyun Sook Kim Member Elected (Korea)
Dr Chun-Kai Fang Member Elected (Taiwan)
Dr Sushma Bhatnagar Member Co-opted (India)
Dr Chong Poh Heng Member Co-opted (Singapore)
Dr Jun-Hua Lee Member Co-opted (Taiwan)

Chairs of APHN committees

Communications: Dr Chun-Kai Fang (Taiwan)

Education: Dr Ednin Hamzah (Malaysia)

Finance: Prof Patsy Yates (Australia)

Human Resource: Mr Kwan Kam-Fan (Hong Kong)

Membership : Dr Annie Kwok (Hong Kong)

Research: Dr Sushma Bhatnagar (India)

Chairs of APHN Special Interest Groups (SIG)

Paediatric Palliative Care: Dr Chong Poh Heng (Singapore)

Pacific Islands: Dr Sue Marsden (New Zealand)

China: Dr Rico Liu (Hong Kong)

Advisory Council (By invitation)

Chair: Prof Tetsuo Kashiwagi (Japan)

Member: Prof Enoch Lai (Taiwan)

Member: Prof Young Seon Hong (Korea)

ALL committee and groups are open for APHN members to join (except finance committee). Please feel free to email the APHN Secretariat at aphn@aphn.org or call +65 6235 5166 to indicate your interest if you will like to be part of the APHN committee or SIG!!

Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network and Palliative Care Australia : Syringe Driver Exchange Programme

With the phasing out of Graseby syringe drivers in Australia with the introduction of alternatives, significant numbers of these useful devices could be made available for palliative care services in the region.  The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) and  Palliative Care Australia (PCA) propose a mechanism whereby a palliative care institution (APHN Organisational Member) initiates a request to APHN by filling in the details below. Successful applicants will be informed and PCA will connect them to a donor service in Australia. This arrangement hopes to facilitate a donation of useful syringe devices across international boundaries as well as networking.

Palliative Care Award 2016 for SAARC Countries Instituted by Cancer Aid Society

051015CANCER AID SOCIETY, an NGO having Special Consultative Status with United Nations ECOSOC, working across India since 1987 on Palliative Care, Advocacy, Tobacco Control, Cancer and Non Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control invites Application/ Nominations from Doctors, Paramedical Staff and Social Workers with demonstrative leadership in the field of Palliative Care for the Cancer Patients from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Application can be made by filling the application form online along with the references and verifiable evidences through media and pictures in order to identify the leadership of the applicants/ nominees to be sent by email to palliativecare@canceraidsocietyindia.org

Last date of Application is 24.00 Hrs. (India Time) of 8th December 2015.

PALLIATIVE CARE AWARD – 2016 (Rs. 100000. and Plaque) will be presented at the 23rd International Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care – February 2016 to be held at Pune India.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. DP Gupta
Cancer Aid Society
Head Office First Floor, Regency Avadh Complex, Chowk, Lucknow, UP. Pin – 226003
Phones: 91-522 4043686, 2259157
FAX 91-522-2259239


Voices for Hospices Concert

Voices for HospiceSingapore will be having a Voices for Hospices Concert to celebrate the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on the 17th October 2015. Click on the picture to get your free tickets now!

Do you have an event to celebrate the World Hospice Day?

Email Joyce at aphn@aphn.org so that we can put up your event and advertise for you!


Talking about Death

Anjum JoadDr Anjum Khan Joad is an anaesthetist and palliative care consultant. She is one of the leaders in pain and palliative care management in Rajasthan. Currently, she holds the position of coordinator at the Department of Palliative Care Medicine within the Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

She established a Comprehensive Palliative Care Centre in Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Centre and founded the Jaipur Course in Palliative Medicine and Nursing. This is the only such course in North India. Over the years, she has also trained many doctors and nurses in palliative care. She is also part of the teaching faculty of the Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care in Bangladesh. She has made significant contributions in the field of palliative care, but being an anesthetist, how did she get into palliative care in the first place?

Here’s her reply: “No exciting story I am afraid! I was employed at this new charitable cancer hospital eager to anaesthetise patients and treat pain Ours is a centre run by a Religious trust. In the initial four-to-five months, the patients gradually trickled in. Almost all of them were incurable, with a recurrence, or not responding to therapy. My oncology colleagues had no treatment to offer and referred these patients to me because they knew that I wanted to establish a “Pain Clinic”. What was also worrying was that many had major symptoms without any pain. I did not know what to do with these patients! A colleague gave me a photocopied version of one of Dr. Twycross’ early books on how to treat pain. Using this and other resources I learnt on the job while running the operating theatres. On April 24, 1998, I formally notified all the trustees and all five colleagues that we had started Pain Relief and Palliative Care Services in the hospital. My colleagues were most supportive as were the trustees, making it possible for this service to continue operations.”

Recently, she was interviewed for a BBC program called the WHY Factor on the topic of “Talking about Death”. In the interview Dr Anjum shares her experience of telling patients the bad news.

Click here to listen to the podcast!

Palliative Care News Update – September (2)

For the month of September (2)


Change cultural taboo around dying

Australia – DPS News |While many view conversations on death as a taboo, such conversations are necessary to pave the way forward for palliative care.

Working could help terminally ill 

Pro Bono AustraliaContrary to popular belief, working could actually be more beneficial for the terminally ill.

Push for palliative care

ABC News Increased funding for palliative care services could lead to significant savings in health costs

Uptake of advance care planning increasing among providers

Australian Ageing Agenda | Following the implementation of a national palliative care program for residential aged care, more people are moving towards advance care planning and end-of-life care.


Easing pain through palliative care

Borneo – The Borneo PostThis article highlights the nature of the palliative care services provided for by the Palliative Care Association Miri.


Government to widen support for cancer patients

The Japan NewsAs part of the Government’s measures to increase support for cancer patients, palliative care coordinators will be introduced to ease patients’ concerns about receiving palliative care.

New Zealand

Euthanasia: Is it up to public opinion?

Nelson Mail | The role of palliative care for the terminally ill removes the need for legalising physician – assisted suicide.


Let’s talk about living and dying well, today

Asia OneThe writer shares about the importance of having end of life conversations. Contrary to taboo and popular belief, such conversations do not hasten death, instead they put life into better perspective.


Ignorance stymies palliative care

Bangkok Post | The main hindrance towards receiving palliative care is a misconception of what it actually entails.

APHN-BMCH Graseby Syringe Driver Workshop


It used to be that Palliative Care is developing in Bangladesh, where only some doctors and members of the public have heard of the term. However, this has dramatically changed over the past 2 years, with more doctors, medical professionals and the general public paying attention to and recognizing the importance of palliative care.

Palliative care is very much needed in Bangladesh. For instance, about 70% of cancer patients are diagnosed at the late stage where cure is unlikely. The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) has been working closely with local partners to contribute towards the development palliative care in Bangladesh.

Aside from implementing the Training-of-Trainer in Palliative Care program for Bangladesh since 2013 (as part of the Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care initiative), the APHN has also help to facilitate the transfer of syringe drivers from Australia to Bangladesh, as well as related syringe driver training workshops. In 2014, APHN worked with the ASHIC Foundation in Bangladesh to coordinate the transfer of 22 Graseby syringe drivers (MS26) donated by South West Healthcare, Australia. Following this, the 1st Syringe Driver workshop jointly facilitated by the APHN and the ASHIC Foundation was conducted on 14th August 2014. The 2nd Syringe Driver workshop was jointly organized by the APHN and the Bangladesh Medical College Hospital (BMCH) on 13th August 2015. Dr. Shahinur Kabir, an APHN member, helped to coordinate this local workshop on behalf of APHN. The workshops aim to assist all participants to attain the knowledge and skills required for the safe use of the Graseby MS26 syringe driver in providing appropriate pain and symptom management for both adult and paediatric palliative care patients. The facilitators of the 2nd workshop were Dr. Shahinur Kabir, Dr. Rumana Dawla, Dr. Zohora Jameela By: Dr Shahinur Kabir, Ashic Palliative Care Unit; Shanti Oncology & Palliative Care Unit APHN – BMCH Graseby Syringe Driver workshop in Bangladesh Khan and Dr. Megan Doherty.

BMCH is the first private medical college hospital in Bangladesh. The department of Oncology was the main coordinator of the workshop. Dr. Zafor Masud (Head of Oncology, BMCH) an avid supporter of developing palliative care in Bangladesh, worked closely with participating organizations to conduct the workshop. In this workshop, 6 doctors and 17 nurses are among the 23 participants from three organizations, namely, BMCH, Shanti Oncology and Palliative Care Unit and Hospice Bangladesh. The workshop was well-received by doctors and nurses who were keen to use the drivers. This knowledge was especially pertinent to nurses, who are the main caregivers within the palliative setting. Participants were grateful for the opportunity to attend the workshop and extended their thanks to the organizers and APHN.

Story of using syringe driver in Bangladesh:


Juleka, who is turning four this year, was diagnosed with a retinoblastoma in 2011. She received 6 cycles of chemotherapy and completed radiotherapy in 2011. Although she lives in a city which is which far from the capitol city of Dhaka, her father ensured that Juleka completed her treatment. In June, 2015, Juleka began complaining of headache and chest pain. Around the same time, she also complained of vomiting and her retinoblastoma regrew. Then, she developed convulsions. They came to ASHIC Foundation and discovered that her disease had already metastasized to the brain and chest. She was suffering from severe pain and convulsions. Dr. Shahinur Kabir used the donated Grasby Syringe driver for her pain and convulsion here at the ASHIC Foundation, the first pediatric palliative care service established in Bangladesh. She was the first paediatric patient to use this syringe driver. The donation of this syringe driver makes it possible to see smiles on palliative patients here in Bangladesh.

We will like to thank South West Healthcare, who donated the drivers generously to APHN, and Palliative Care Australia for facilitating the transfer of the syringe drivers.

3rd Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium

230915We invite those interested in palliative care research or related fields, to join us at the 3rd Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium, in Melbourne on 22 October and, 23 October 2015.

Considerable funding is spent on research into cancer prevention, cure and other diseases, yet there is an extraordinarily small proportion of research funding allocated to palliative care. The positive contribution that palliative care brings to supporting patients with advanced disease and their families is now undisputable; with published reviews showing significant outcomes.

Despite shortfalls in funding and a relatively small pool of academics concentrating specifically on palliative care, Australia is highly regarded in terms of academic achievements in this area. In order to continue to foster the evolution of empirical inquiry into palliative care, it is important that we continue to collaborate and have an opportunity to discuss key issues and learn new approaches. The Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium provides this opportunity.

We would be delighted if you can join us at this important forum.

Prof Peter Hudson and  A/Prof Jennifer Philip
Co-chairs, Scientific Committee
3rd Australian Palliative Care Research Colloquium

Click here to register.

Not just a Doctor, a family member

150716HCAHomeVisitsFinal31HCA Hospice Care (HCA) is a registered charity in Singapore providing comfort and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses. HCA is dedicated to serve her patients 24 hours, round-the-clock.

Following is a summary of Dr Naing, a palliative doctor at HCA Hospice care who received 27 calls in a night on one occasion, yet the requests at odd hours never deters him from pursuing his passion.

“In the middle of the night, I had to go down to the patient’s house to sign the CCOD (Certificate of Cause of Death). On a separate night, I was called just to fulfil the request of a patient whose back was itching and wanted a massage,” says Dr Naing. On average, 5 patients in HCA passes each day, the number of deaths the doctors have to face is unimaginable.

Though it may be distressing to deal with the topic of death and revealing a patient’s prognosis, he handles it with love, truthfulness and sensitivity, winning the hearts of his patients.

 “The beauty of a home hospice service is that when I see my patients at home, I see the environment and the reality of their lives.” As a home hospice doctor, visits are scheduled according to the patients, unlike a structured hospital, where it depends on the availability of the doctor.

To Dr Naing, money is important but it is not everything. “I have lost my trousers many times due to bed bugs in houses of the less fortunate and this is reality. I may be a medical practitioner but I do not own a car. “Life cannot be perfect. You can’t get everything you want but to find meaning in life through your profession, that’s where I am,” says Dr Naing.

Please feel free to drop an email at communications@hcahospicecare.org.sg if you have any words of encouragement!

If you will like to share your story and news on the APHN website, please feel free to email Joyce at aphn@aphn.org or call +65 6235 5166!

From HCA Hospice Care

LCPC Talk – Methadone Switch at Home: Rediscovering an old friend in a new place


Palliative Care News Update – September 2015

20140108-1Week 1 – 16 September

The weekly palliative care news update below are collated by our APHN volunteers and reviewed by the communications committee. If you will like to share with us some articles that you have read online, please feel free to email Joyce with the link at at aphn@aphn.org.


The unbearable weight of dying

Asia One | The writer addresses three different approaches to dying – the sanctity of life, the autonomy to end one’s own life and palliative care.

Religion rarely part of ICU conversation

Channel News Asia | The writer discusses the importance of listening and understand a patient’s spiritual and religious beliefs.

New Zealand

New Zealand: Palliative care review announced

Radio New Zealand | The government has announced it will look at how to improve palliative care services, and what future demand could look like. The review, to be conducted by the Ministry of Health and a palliative care advisory panel, will focus on improving services in the next three to five years, while considering the likely demand for those services in the next 10 to 20 years. It will cover primary and specialist services, and all care settings, including the home, hospitals, hospices and aged residential care facilities. An estimated 17,000 adults will use palliative care services this year, and that figure is expected to grow as the population does. The final report is expected by September 2016.

Photo credit: Ehospice


Weekly palliative care clinic brings smile to children’s faces


*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the patient and family.

Leap magazine recently published a moving article about the weekly children’s palliative care clinic organized by Pallium India at the Sree Avittom Thirunal Government Hospital in Kerala, India.

Pallium India has been running a weekly children’s palliative care clinic at the Sree Avittom Thirunal Government Hospital in Kerala for the past three years. Pallium India is a national registered charitable trust that aims to fight for the millions in India who are in desperate need of palliative care and the necessary pain relief.

Smriti Rana, who is Consulting Psychologist and Programme Director of the Children’s Palliative Care Project is considered the master of joyous interruptions, “she manages to turn a series of sombre medical procedures and transactions into a room celebrating a kid’s birthday party with all the toppings”. The article begins by introducing us to some of the lovely children being cared for by Rana and her team. We are introduced to brothers Arif*, five years old and Altaf*, eight years old who both have cerebral palsy. Altaf, Arif and the other children at the clinic are cared for by Dr Annie Varghese. The medical procedures such as drawing blood are very difficult…read more

From ehospice

Paediatric palliative care in the Asia Pacific region: Where are we now?

Barry Ashpole Media Watch: 7 September 2015 (#426)

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care | Online – 3 September 2015 – Paediatric palliative care services have increased both in numbers and capacity around the world in response to the needs of children living with life-limiting conditions. Members of the Asia Pacific Hospice Network, who render care to children, have increasingly realised the need to map existing services for enhanced collaborative, educational and advocacy efforts. An online survey was conducted over 2 months among professionals in the region to document current service provision, and at the same time to explore individual training needs and practice challenges. A questionnaire crafted through consensus by members of a new special interest group within the network was used to collect data. 59 distinct responses from 16 countries were obtained to build a directory, which has already been circulated. Content analyses of narrative responses yield further findings. Half of these services catered to adults as well as to children. Staffing and service provision varied across the region but most members worked in teams consisting of multidisciplinary professionals. Numerous service and funding models were found, reflecting wide differences in local conditions and responses to diverse patient populations unique to paediatric palliative care. The highest training needs centred around bereavement and spiritual care. Capacity and funding issues were expected, but significant lack of support by paediatricians was found to be alarming and warrants further study. Amid the heterogeneity, these services share common struggles and face similar needs. Identifying individual profiles of different services potentially helps to draw everyone together, towards a common vision, and towards creating opportunities for sharing of expertise and experience…read more


National guidelines needed for palliative care referrals


Leading academic Professor David Currow has called for national guidelines on referral to specialist palliative care services at the 13th Australian Palliative Care conference in Melbourne.

His suggestion, which was met with applause from delegates, is consistent with Palliative Care Australia recommendations to the Federal Government as part of the Primary Health Care Review.

Professor Currow, Discipline, Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University told ehospice that the palliative care sector needed to take more responsibility for overcoming referral problems.

“Consistently, we criticise people for referring at the wrong time or referring the wrong patient population or referring for the wrong reasons.

“At the end of the day palliative care services have to take some ownership of helping our colleagues through that so there is absolute clarity about how, when and why to engage us.

“Palliative care services need to be more active about getting out there and identifying people with the most complex needs and start seeking them out.”

He gave the example of asking a respiratory team how many people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder had been admitted to hospital more than three times in the past six months, or asking a cardiology team how many people on their books had New York Heart Association Grade Four..read more

From ehospice