4th Maruzza Congress on Paediatric Palliative Care

Click http://www.childrenpalliativecarecongress.org/congress-2018/ to go to the conference website.

The APHN is proud to be a supporting partner of this conference.

3rd Conference of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network

The 3rd Conference of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network will be held from 30 May to 2 June 2018 in Durban, South Africa.

Quoting conference chair Prof Julia Downing “There have been many developments in children’s palliative care over the past few years, some of us have been working in the field for many years, others are just starting out and we hope that this conference will be for all of you. It will be a great opportunity to learn from each other and to meet old friends and make new friends. Durban has never before been host to these many ‘greats’ in the world of children’s palliative care and it is hoped that many of you will take the opportunity to attend the conference.”

More details on the conference and registration can be found at http://www.icpcnconference.org/en/home/


Applications Open – 2018 International Development and Education Award in Palliative Care

Applications Are Now Being Accepted for the 2018 International Development and Education Award (IDEA) & IDEA in Palliative Care (IDEA-PC)

The IDEA program is designed to provide continuing medical education, assist in career development, and help establish strong relationships with leading ASCO members who serve as scientific mentors to each recipient.

Modeled after the IDEA program, IDEA in Palliative Care (IDEA-PC) is designed to provide support to early-career oncologists from low- and middle-income countries who are interested in palliative medicine.


These awards provide early-career oncologists from low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to continue their medical education by:

  • Attending the ASCO Annual Meeting
  • Being paired with a mentor from the United States or Canada
  • Spending additional time at their mentor’s cancer center
  • Benefiting from a three year complimentary ASCO membership

Completed Applications Due:  October 31, 2017, 11:59 PM EDT

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for the IDEA or IDEA-PC, eligible applicants with less than 10 years of experience in the field of oncology must complete an application that includes a 250-word essay, a letter of recommendation, and a CV. Strongest consideration will be given to candidates who submit an abstract for the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting. Awardees must be a member of ASCO or submit a membership application when they apply for either award.

Only online applications will be accepted. All application materials must be submitted in English. Complete details about the application and selection process, award terms, and eligibility requirements are available at CONQUER.ORG/IDEA.   

IDEA applications are due October 31, 2017.

Questions? Feel free to contact the ASCO International Affairs Department at +1-571-483-1501 or via e-mail at IDEA@asco.org.

Singapore Statement

The Singapore Statement was issued at the 12th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference held in Singapore from 26th – 29th July.

Photo Credit: HPM Global

Singapore Statement

We participants of the 12th International Conference of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network on 28 July 2017 in Singapore,

  • finding that there is a huge burden of unrelieved suffering associated with life limiting illnesses in the region,
  • viewing with concern that less than 10% of those in need have access to pain relief and palliative care globally, and
  • aware of the World Health Assembly resolution of 2014[1] which calls on all member countries’ health systems to integrate evidence-based, cost effective and equitable palliative care services in the continuum of care, community and home based care and universal coverage schemes,

request member states in the region to ensure:

  • adequate funding and effective implementation of national palliative care strategies to implement palliative care in the region,
  • the inclusion of palliative care in non-communicable diseases control programs and in HIV and TB control programs,
  • inclusion of palliative care education in basic education for all health professionals, and
  • improving access to palliative care for children and young people.

[1] Reference: World Health Organisation. World Health Assembly WHA 67.19 Agenda Item 15.5. Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course. Available at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA67/A67_R19-en.pdf

Pushing Up Daisies

Pushing Up Daisies, also a euphemism for being dead, is a lively week-long festival held yearly in the town of Todmorden. Started by three ladies who wanted to encourage their community to be comfortable in having end-of-life conversations, it resulted in an annual event where exhibitions, workshops, performances are held to create opportunities for people to think about, plan and talk about death.

Read more on Pushing Up Daisies here.

Watch the video by the Lien Foundation on Pushing Up Daisies here.


Are you inspired to start our own series of events? Please remember to credit “Pushing Up Daisies” if you used any of their ideas. Don’t forget to add your event to the list for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities you will be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

We all grieve for lost loved ones. Here’s how one photographer dealt with it in his own way.

This article was originally from PCAeNews.

Erik Simander pursued the photo project to cope with the sudden loss of his grandmother. Through it, he managed to spend time with his grandfather, helping him cope with the sudden death of his wife, before his eventual passing. “The death of one partner before the other—is inevitable, and the subject is maybe a bit taboo. No one likes to talk about it, but it happens.” -Erik Simander

Read the full article here.


A picture is worth a thousand words. Hold a photo exhibition to celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind. Email us at aphn@aphn.org to let us know what activities will you be having to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care.

APHN statement on our stand against the deliberate ending of life

The Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network promotes access to good-quality hospice and palliative care for all in the Asia Pacific region. We value every moment of life and do not support any action that has the intention of shortening a person’s life. Restoring dignity and enhancing quality of life is the basis of palliative care.

We do not support the deliberate ending of life and we view with concern moves in certain jurisdictions in the region to legalise physician-administered euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.  Licensing doctors to administer or supply lethal drugs to seriously-ill patients has no place in the practice of health care.  Such moves devalue the dying and undermine society’s responsibility to protect its most vulnerable members.

Australia and New Zealand are acknowledged leaders in fostering palliative care development in the Asia Pacific region. In much of this region, pioneers are struggling to establish good end-of-life services in the face of little political and financial support. Eighty percent of the world’s dying has little or no access to morphine for pain relief.

The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been ranked as the top three countries worldwide in the 2015 Economist Quality of Death Index. The eyes of the world are on these nations and on how they discharge their responsibilities to dying people.

For those of us trying to improve end-of-life care, licensing doctors to provide or administer lethal drugs to patients poses serious risks of sabotaging efforts around the globe to convince governments that pain relief and good end-of-life care are basic human rights.

The Asia Pacific Hospice and Palliative Care Network appeals to you therefore to recognise your responsibilities on the world stage when considering any proposed legislation before you.


Yours faithfully


Associate Professor Cynthia Goh
Chair, Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network


Thank you everyone for your support. The comments section is closed. You may read the archived comments below.

Comments from the community:

“Thank you for highlighting the risk that legalising assisted dying risks sabotaging efforts to improve pain management, palliative care and end of life care in countries where there is a poor commitment to human rights.”

“The vast majority of patients can die comfortably with good palliative care. Resources are better utilised enhancing good palliative care, rather than developing morally and ethically grey services (Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide) that may only benefit a very small minority. Society should evolve to compassionately care for dying patients, and not evolve towards using euthanasia as a convenient but cold alternative.”

“It is a matter of urgency to stop this move to legalize Euthanasia, whatever else it may be called, PAS or MAID etc.”

“As a specialist physician in Palliative Care for 34 years I have assisted more than 30,000 people at the end of their lives. I have never killed anyone and find the idea abhorrent.”

“Human rights is the right to live till the end”

“We need palliative care not euthanasia”

“I support the APHN statement against Physician assisted suicide and Euthanasia”

“Respecting life is to allow the person to live to the end with holistic support”

“They say assisted dying doesn’t hurt palliative care. Sign up to show you disagree.”

“I fully support the APHN stance on resisting any law change on assisted dying”

“No to Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide! We are committed to the defense of human life from womb to tomb. There is a time to live and a time to die. Let us not artificially prolong nor shorten life or the dying process. It’s all about respect, stewardship, and accountability.”

“To take care of Elders and Sick people is Asian tradition. We should generate multidimensional & creative ways to reduce the sufferings at the end-of-life, not PAS/Euthanasia.”

“End of life care/ care of terminally ill is NOT physician assisted suicide.”

“There can be no guaranteed legal protection for those that are vulnerable against coercion if euthanasia is legalised. The focus needs to be on equitable and good palliative care for all.”

“I wholeheartedly support the invaluable skill and support that is given to patients from our own Palliative Care team. I would also welcome more frontline education given to medical staff to enable more “to get on board with timely and compassionate” patient referrals to the Palliative team. I would also support more funding to enable more frontline staff to be trained and encouraged to “grow” Palliative services in our mainstream hospitals. Thank you”

“Better understanding of palliative care by both health professionals and the community is needed to overcome the myths of euthanasia and the slippery slope of legal quagmire if euthanasia was to be legalised in Victoria.”

“The Chinese word for euthanasia is 安乐死, which literally means “happy death”. However, “happy death” is not the same as “Happy. Death”

“Doctors never kill. Even at the last moment of life has its own values.”

“Palliative care provides comfort for patient till the end of their life, it does not provide comfort to end their life.”

“We need to find better ways to care for human beings that are suffering instead of silencing the sufferer through actions of euthanasia or to provide the means for assisted dying to occur. Fund better care options for the chronically ill and dying – not legislate against the living that are already vulnerable and need care”

Barry Ashpole Media Watch #496

Barry Ashpole Media Watch

The latest issue of Media Watch, compiled and annotated by Barry R. Ashpole (Ontario, Canada) can now be downloaded here. More reports can be found at IPCRC.NET

International Publications:

Doctor hits the road to deliver palliative care to Toronto’s homeless

ONTARIO | CBC News (Toronto) – 17 January 2017 – Dr Naheed Dosani is a palliative care doctor in Toronto, but his patients are in homeless shelters, drop-in centres and even on the streets. He dispenses much-needed health care to the 5000 vulnerable and marginalised people, with many at the end of their lives. Dosani says the palliative care team’s visits are not just a check-in, they are building bonds and relationships over time. Dr Simon Colgan states that palliative care is a human right for everybody in Canada, has also set up a similar mobile service. https://goo.gl/xn8gzc

Who will care for the caregivers?

THE NEW YORK TIMES | Online – 19 January 2017 – According to AARP and the National Alliance of Caregiving, nearly a quarter of caregivers are now millenials, equally likely to be either male or female, with a third providing more than 21 hours of care per week. One third of them hold full-time jobs, while a quarter work part-time. This volunteer army is put at great financial risk, even worse, perhaps, is the physical and emotional toll of extended caregiving. For many, caring for a loved one provides tremendous purpose and fulfilment, deepening relationships, then it seems that the goal should not be to reduce family caregiving but to reduce its burdens. https://goo.gl/leNlrx

Lawmakers should support improving palliative care access

MINNESOTA | The Mankato Free Press – 15 January 2017 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Minnesota is working on legislation to establish a state advisory committee to identify barriers preventing access to PC. The panel’s mission would be to help lawmakers identify gaps in health systems, consumer education, workforce development and promote solutions. Making sure Minnesotans have access to such a complete form of care is a cause every lawmaker should be able to support. https://goo.gl/8z3Ztu

A Tender Hand in the Presence of Death

From Pallium India Newsletter

Heather Meyerend is a home care hospice nurse visiting sixteen to twenty patients once a week each. She sees her work as preparing and accompanying a patient partway down the voyage he is to undertake. Like most hospice workers, she feels it is a privilege to accompany the dying and their family at their most vulnerable and helpless times.

Her visit may be the high point of the day for the patient, who may not be able to get out of bed, or for whoever is taking care of the patient, who may not have left the house or seen anybody else for a day or two; either or both of them may be going a little crazy and may badly need interruption or variety of any kind, ideally someone different to talk to. So Heather moves slowly; she sits down; she delays; she lingers. Dying can be long and bewildering, lonely and painful, frequently undignified, and consumed by pressing and unpredictable and constantly changing and multiplying needs. It’s a relief to have someone around who understands what’s going on and what may happen next. Hospice believes in caring not only for the patient but also for the family, and tries to address psychological and spiritual needs as well as physical ones, providing social workers and bereavement counsellors, music therapists and chaplains, who work together as a team and consult one another frequently. Nonetheless, patients tend to resist hospice, because it sounds like a death sentence, and it is: entering hospice means giving up on curative treatments, and you qualify only if your doctor believes that you have less than six months to live. enever Heather entered a patient’s home for the first time, she knew that she was walking into a long, long, complicated story that she understood nothing about, a story that was just then reaching its final crisis. She was extra alert on those first visits, extra careful, trying to figure out what was going on—the conflicts and rivalries between members of the family, tension over who wasn’t doing enough, who was doing too much, unresolved bitterness, and nearly always grief and anxiety and fretting about how to take care of the patient and what to do.

Read the full article here.

WHO releases new guidance for Planning and Implementing Palliative Care Services

From eHospice


The World Health Organization in Geneva has just released a 91-page guide to help countries wishing to develop palliative care services.

The guide is titled “Planning and Implementing Palliative Care Services: A guide for program managers”. It is developed is in response to the passage of the World Health Assembly resolution on palliative care in 2014. Useful resources inside includes:

  • An overview of palliative care services
  • A guide to establishing palliative care services in various settings
  • The necessary components of a comprehensive approach to palliative care
  • Many resources and tools and
  • A number of useful appendices on medicines, equipment and supplies, and sample curricula for volunteers, medical doctors, and clinical officers

Read here for the full article.

The guide can be downloaded from the WHO website at: http://www.who.int/ncds/management/palliative-care/palliative_care_services/en/

My job in palliative care let me practise social work as it is meant to be

From Pallium India Newsletter

“It has been an opportunity to practise social work as it is meant to be – empowering, enabling but not afraid to face and challenge conflicts and difficulties both within families and communities but in wider society. A far cry indeed from the care management model that most adult social work has now been reduced to.”

Palliative care social worker Suzy Croft had come into this line some 26 years ago, when the term “palliative care” was unknown. She was part of a multi-professional team that supported people with terminal cancer and their families. Though in the past few years, Suzy faced difficulties while helping her clients in need of support from the state, she found that families and friends remain the greatest support for people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.

She feels that “palliative care social work has been a wonderful field in which to work” as it involves working with other professionals, but most of all, because it provides an opportunity to work with a diverse group of patients and their families. Life-threatening and life limiting illnesses are no respecter of class, income, age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religious belief, immigration status, mental health or learning difficulties. Palliative care social workers offer a wide range of support to patients and families from practical help and advice around income maintenance and debt counselling, help with housing and accessing other services through to advocacy, individual and family support and counselling and help for bereaved adults and children.

Read the full article here.

It was a privilege to care for my brother: Nola’s story

pcaFrom Palliative Matters

A story of a sister journeying with her brother towards life’s end..

When he was dying on the Saturday morning, I sat with him. I had a lovely chat with him, telling him how proud I was of him and that I’d look after his animals. I always wanted to say goodbye but I didn’t want to choose the wrong moment. I told him to say “Hi” to mum and dad. It was very special to have that moment with him. He was very peaceful.

Pete was into beer and motorbikes. There were 22 antique motorbikes at the funeral and we had the wake in the pub. It was exactly what Pete wanted and it was a lovely time of closure for me. Steve and a few of Pete’s other friends were able to choose where Pete would be buried and they chose a spot under a tree so that they could pull up and have a beer with Pete. They were grieving too. It wasn’t just me grieving; it was the whole community.

Read the full article here.