Nurturing Excellence: A Recap of the 15th Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Conference 2023 in Incheon, Korea

The 15th Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Conference (APHC) marked a significant return to in-person gatherings after a four-year hiatus, rekindling the spirit of collaboration and knowledge exchange in the field. Coordinated by the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) and the Korean Society for Hospice & Palliative Care (KSHPC), the conference drew 1344 participants from 27 regions across the globe. Held in Incheon, Korea, at the Songdo Convensia, the four-day event encompassed a rich array of activities that engaged and enlightened attendees.

The conference kicked off with an impactful first day, dedicated to various pre-conference workshops, each addressing specific facets of hospice and palliative care. From EPEC Pediatrics to workshops exploring innovative psychosocial care, grief support, and leadership in palliative care, participants were immersed in a diverse range of topics, setting the stage for in-depth discussions and learning.

Dr Rosalie Shaw delivering her Keynote Speech

The main conference, commencing on October 5th, unfolded with a dynamic drum media art performance, capturing the attention of attendees. Dr. Young Seon Hong and Dr. Ednin Hamzah, the conference co-chairs, delivered a warm welcome, paving the way for Dr. Rosalie Shaw’s insightful Keynote Speech on the expansion and building of palliative care in the Asia Pacific, setting the tone for the conference’s substantive discussions.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Cynthia Goh Award 2023 to Prof. Sushma Bhatnagar, a testament to her exceptional dedication and contributions to healthcare. Subsequently, the announcement of the five outstanding recipients of the Cynthia Goh Palliative Care Fellowship added an extra layer of prestige to the event, underscoring the global impact of palliative care.

Over the three days of the main conference, a total of 11 Plenary sessions and 17 concurrent sessions delved into crucial palliative care topics, including IT-driven quality improvements, primary palliative care, and spiritual care within the palliative care framework. This comprehensive coverage ensured a holistic exploration of the current challenges and advancements in the field.

The second day featured the Gala Dinner, a social highlight where participants enjoyed a music therapy performance, shared personal conference experiences.

They were also treated to a spirited dance performance by the APHC 2025 team, promoting the upcoming conference.

The evening concluded with a memorable Korean traditional song and dance led by Prof Kwon So-hi, Ganggangsullae, fostering a sense of unity and celebration among the attendees.

The final morning of the conference featured a special Morning Walk program, commemorating World Hospice & Palliative Care Day 2023. Participants strolled through the picturesque Incheon Songdo Central Park, capping off the event with a leisurely activity and warm camaraderie, symbolized by a cup of coffee waiting at the endpoint.

The closing ceremony brought the conference to a fitting conclusion, with recognition for the best poster and oral presentations.

Symbolically, the APHC plaque was handed from Korea to the Sarawak team, passing the torch for the next conference.

Dr. Ngian Hie Ung, Chair of the APHC 2025 organizing committee, received the plaque and extended an invitation for all to join the next APHC in 2025, marking the anticipation of continued growth and collaboration in hospice and palliative care.

Overall, the 15th APHC in Incheon, Korea, was a resounding success, fostering knowledge exchange, recognition of excellence, and a sense of global solidarity in advancing hospice palliative care.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional organising committee, dedicated organisers, generous sponsors, and enthusiastic exhibitors who played integral roles in making the 15th APHC 2023 a great one. Special appreciation goes to the participants—your active engagement, insightful contributions, and passion for improving palliative care globally were truly inspiring!

See you at the 16th APHC in Sarawak, Malaysia in 2025!

Written by Ms Trudy Giam (APHN Executive )
Photos taken by 15th APHC Official Conference Photographer

Published on: 9 November, 2023 | Last modified: 19 December, 2023