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The inaugural United States World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Celebration: A virtual coming together

, Shila Pandey, Andrew S. Epstein, Stephen R. Connor, Judith E. Nelson
Palliative and Supportive Care , Volume 19, pp 182-186; doi:10.1017/s1478951521000237

Abstract: Objective On October 10, 2020, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Supportive Care Service hosted their first-ever United States (US) World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) Celebration. The purpose of this article is to describe the US inaugural event in alignment with the broader goals of WHPCD and provide lessons learned in anticipation of the second annual conference to be held on October 5–6, 2021. Methods Description of the inaugural event in the context of COVID-19 and WHPCD, co-planning conference team reflection, and attendee survey responses. Results The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance initially launched WHPCD in 2005 as an annual unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. The US-based innovative virtual conference featured 23 interprofessional hospice and palliative care specialists and patient and family caregiver speakers across nine diverse sessions addressing priorities at the intersection of COVID-19, social injustice, and the global burden of serious health-related suffering. Two primary aims guided the event: community building and wisdom sharing. Nearly 270 registrants from at least 16 countries and one dozen states across the US joined the free program focused on both personal and professional development. Significance of results Unlike many other academic conferences and professional gatherings that were relegated to online forums due to pandemic-related restrictions, the US WHPCD Celebration was intentionally established to create a virtual coming together for collective reflection on the barriers and facilitators of palliative care delivery amid vast societal change. The goal to ensure a globally relevant and culturally inclusive agenda will continue to draw increased participation at an international level during future annual events. Finally, the transparent and respectful sharing of palliative care team experiences in the year preceding the conference established a safe environment for both individual expression and scholarly discussion.
Keywords: Global palliative care / Palliative care / Supportive care / Virtual conference / World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

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