What I learnt from APHC 2015
- A report on APHC 2015 by APHN bursary receipient Dr Tharin Phenwan, Thailand
My name is Dr. Tharin Phenwan. I’m currently in my last year of Family Medicine Residency training programme at Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. After I finish my training, I will work as a lecturer at Walailak University School of Medicine in Nakhon Si Thammarat province in the southern region of Thailand.
This year, I received a bursary from APHN to travel to the 2015 Asia Pacific Hospice Conference and I feel very grateful for such a great honour. APHC 2015 has been one of the best academic experiences in my life. It was more than just a conference. You joined an international event and met like-minded people, exchanging ideas, stories, and laughter with your old and new friends. Then you went back to work, fully inspired and energised.
By joining this conference, I could:
1) Update my knowledge in palliative care.
There were many interesting topics this year. Key speaker’s lectures, especially in symptom management, kept me up-to-date with these challenging issues. Plus, I also received many insightful comments from my peers during poster presentation which improved my work a lot.
2) See that we are not alone.
We are connected with many good friends and organisations all over the world, such as APHN, and ICPCN, and all of us are pushing palliative care toward a better future together. Nowadays, with the help of social media and the internet, we are now connected more than ever.
Another memorable session during the conference that emphasises this connectedness is advocacy. It is
another crucial element for palliative care, and other proper causes, to be heard.
For example, I just recently started working as a volunteer contributor for ehospice
, gathering updates and patients’ stories from Thailand and translate them into English, and I never realised how much impact it brings. They reach broader peers more than I could imagine. Some people that I met told me personally that they had read our stories and applied them at their respective countries. That comment alone was more than enough for me to continue my work!
Hopefully, it will continue to help people to have a better understanding about palliative care and how important it is.
3) Confirm my belief that palliative care is a human right for everyone.
With the increasing life expectancy and the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) worldwide, palliative care is needed now more than ever. Unfortunately, not all of patients could gain access to adequate palliative care.
The situation differs with each country. For example, in Thailand, palliative care service is not fully integrated into the whole health care system yet. Patients in certain areas will face difficulties accessing proper palliative care. Morphine access and palliative care for non-cancer groups are also other challenges we are facing right now. That is precisely why we need to continue our work so that more people could receive the proper care that they need.
After I finish my residency training, I will go back to my medical school, use what I had learned, and try to initiate an integrated palliative care in my community. I will teach my medical students, the budding future generation of doctors, about the concept of palliative care as well. Because even though not all patients would need palliative care, all
of them do need palliative approach, the art of living, and we can make it happen