Hospice 23 is a small charity that runs conferences for any professional from any discipline who works in any palliative care setting. Its mission statement is, ‘enabling, empowering and encouraging people who work in palliative care’ It runs 3 day residential conferences looking at key themes in palliative care. Each conference is carefully constructed to allow the theme to be developed in depth and is examined form a wide range of perspectives. Expert speakers from different professional backgrounds and from overseas share ideas and thoughts, followed by questions and free ranging discussion. Each conference aims to have sufficient space within it for the delegates to reflect and debate the theme and examine how the issues apply to them and their organisation. Particular emphasis is placed on thinking outside the usual professional boundaries and care is taken to look at spiritual aspects as well as psychological and physical areas. There is a unique opportunity within each conference to consider personal spiritual needs as well as learning needs. Recent themes have included – walking the tightrope, balancing conflicting needs and building bridges within palliative care across organisations, professions and disease groups. Response to the conferences is overwhelmingly positive and can summarised by the quotes from some of the evaluation forms ‘A thought-provoking event – I learnt a lot’ ‘I have gained so much educationally and spiritually’ It was an inspirational conference and I met some inspirational people. ‘I learnt so much’ Further evaluation needs to be carried out to look at the long term benefits of attending this style of conference.
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