Breakthrough palliative care meeting in Vienna

Around 90 physical therapists attended the first ever “Physiotherapy Pre-meeting” before the 11th Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) held earlier this year in Vienna.

Organised and chaired by Rainer Simader of the Working Group Palliative Care from the Austrian Physiotherapy Association, and Peter Nieland of the Physiotherapy Working Group of the German Palliative Care Association, it attracted participants from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Romania, Germany, Austria, Japan and Namibia.

In the presence of Silvia Mériaux-Kratochvila, President of the Austrian Physiotherapy Association, and Pam Firth, a member of the board of the EAPC, Jenny Taylor, senior physiotherapist at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, talked about non-pharmacological interventions in breathlessness and fear.

Jacob van den Broek of the Hospice Kuria, Amsterdam, gave a lecture on the use of TENS in neuropathic pain. Unni V Nygaard, of the Hospice Lovisenberg, Oslo, presented a special physical exercise group programme for palliative care cancer patients and Peter Nieland, of the Malteser Hospital Bonn, described techniques of lymphatic drainage to manage head oedema. The final part of the pre-meeting was a round table session entitled “The Right Time for Physiotherapy Interventions in the Palliative Care Process: is there a too late?”

“This invitation from the EAPC to hold a pre-meeting represents a huge step for the physiotherapy profession as it moves towards this prestigious and highly professional association,” said Rainer Simader. “Importantly, it marks both a significant beginning of an international network of physical therapists, and also a demonstration of the enormous benefits of physiotherapy for patients, their relatives and the palliative care service.”

The next EAPC congress will take place in Lisbon, Portugal in 2012 and another “Physiotherapy in Palliative Care” pre-meeting is planned. For more information contact Peter Nieland peter.nieland@malteser.de or Rainer Simader palliativecare@physioaustria.at