19 September 2019

Our Paediatric Palliative Symposium

Dedicated to Learning. Committed to Caring.

“This pioneering learning experience allowed us to share the knowledge and experience of some of the key leaders in our field, while giving us the opportunity to support each other in the work we do.”

Olivia Sinclair – Head of Advanced Community Care

A key differentiator of what we do in Advanced Community Care is our commitment to ongoing training. To constantly learning and developing our skills, so that we are equipped to be the best we can be – for our patients, and for their families who rely on us. At the same time, we want to make sure our nurses are progressing in their careers with the skills they need, while feeling supported in the challenging work they do. Our recent Palliative Care Symposium brought all of these values together – in one expert-led, knowledge-focused learning workshop.

Through our work with Advanced Community Care, we support many children with life-limiting conditions. As a result, many require palliative and /or end of life care.  This is obviously a very difficult time for the families we work with – and  we want to give them the greatest level of support possible.  With this in mind, we  recently organised a special Palliative Care Symposium:  an internal knowledge-growing session attended by approximately 50 Advanced Community Care Nurses.

The Paediatric Palliative Symposium was held at the Horse & Jockey Hotel in Kilnoe, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on Friday 23 August – and was an opportunity for our nurses to learn more about Palliation Care in the community, refresh and update Palliative Care knowledge and listen to experts in the field. It also provided nurses with the chance to network and share experiences with colleagues, while special workshops provided an introduction to various pieces of equipment typically used within the community setting.

Sharing the Knowledge of Experts in our Field

As Keynote Speaker, we welcomed Hilary Noonan – a Children’s Outreach Nurse for Children with Life-limiting Conditions. Based in University Hospital Limerick and covering Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary areas, Hilary’s role includes coordinating care for children with life-limiting conditions, in collaboration with healthcare teams in acute and community settings.

Hilary spoke about care of a child on the McKinley Pump at the end of life – and also ran a workshop on the pump.

Our nurses were also addressed by Dr Fiona McElligott and Dr Joanne Balfe. Dr Fiona McElligott is a consultant in Paediatric Palliative medicine (PPM) to Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street, with liaison outreach to The Rotunda Hospital.  Fiona is a member of the National Development Committee on Children’s Palliative Care, and is a board member of LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospital.

Dr Joanne Balfe is a Consultant Paediatrician at Children’s Health Ireland and the National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght. She is also Consultant Paediatrician with a special interest in Community Child Health, Neurodisability and Paediatric Palliative Care, at Laura Lynn Children’s Hospital.

Both Doctors spoke on pain and symptom management for children with life- limiting conditions.

A number of Skills Stations featured at the Symposium, and delegate nurses were given interactive demonstrations of, and training in, the McKinley Pump, Trilogy Ventilator (lead by Clinical Practice Specialist and Symposium Organiser Cora O’Leary), Cough Assist (lead by Jimmy Clooney) and AIRVO.

Ensuring Emotional Well-Being

While knowledge was the theme of the day, we also used the opportunity to lend emotional support to our Advanced Community Care Nurses.  As Cora O’Leary says:

“We are very aware of the emotional challenges faced by our Advanced Community Care nurses. Progressive Schwartz Rounds are one of the ways we help support our team members, providing the opportunity to share and reflect on the personal, emotional and social aspects of our nursing work.  A Schwartz Round was included at the Symposium, which nurses found both strengthening and enlightening. In addition, Keith Grogan presented a session on mindfulness and self-care.”

Feedback on the day was outstanding: Advanced Community Care Nurse  Eileen Moore, concluded that this was “one of the best symposiums I have attended. The ethos of resilience is a rare find. So a big thank you to all involved.”

Advanced Community Care Nurse, Patricia Prett said:  “It was a wonderful day, a perfect mix of topics, which proved to be thought-provoking and educational. An added bonus was the social aspect – meeting colleagues from different areas. And dinner and the venue was a welcome bonus!”

Cora O’Leary concluded that she was “delighted with how well the event went.  The interest from our nurses and the feedback was really positive.”

“I have never attended anything like this in my 35 years of training and was delighted to see that education and learning was such an important part of Resilience