Going away to foreign soil without a small child was in itself rather exciting…
However, attending the conference as a participant – having had an abstract accepted – was both exciting and nerve racking.
Submission of the abstract was borne from attending the APCSW conference in London. Having presented a piece about a project I was working on with the Alzheimer’s Society it was suggested that it could be worked into an abstract. (Cue panic and procrastination)
However, with great support – both academic and practical – from Rowcroft Hospice this was drawn up and submitted to the EAPC.
This was then accepted and my next greatest concern was how to get the physical poster onto Easyjet without incurring extra baggage costs!
The Alzheimer’s Society funded Chris also involved with the project to attend, so it was fabulous to be able to represent the project fully.
3,000 delegates from all over the world converged in a huge conference centre (reminiscent of the NEC or Earls Court).
The programme was printed in the form of a bound book (hefty!) that ran to 190 pages.
It took me a full 3 hours to navigate and work out the difference between a Plenary, Parallel session and Free communication.
Within a single morning in a single room (cavernous spaces actually) a presentation of a piece of research was scheduled every 15 mins – 6 sessions in total spanning 90 mins. There were parallel sessions running in several other rooms also.
Not renowned for my powers of concentration, this was at times cognitive overload.
Our poster was hung in a huge space and we were expected to be alongside this in all the breaks to talk to delegates if they had questions.
Well! We were really genuinely surprised at how much interest the project generated and to be told by a Professor of Palliative Care that we were ‘ahead of the game’ was extraordinary. (Clearly, we nodded and were quite understated until he had left the room …)
It was inspiring to see other social work colleagues also displaying their abstracts – Steve Marshall and Elmien Brink (Kings College Hospital) and flying the flag for specialist palliative care social work.
Attending and supporting Pam Firth’s Meet the Expert session re: EAPC social work competencies. This was well attended and was a diverse group in terms of nationalities. All present were involved in an aspect of social work.
Seeing Harvey Chochinov present ‘Addressing distress in the cancer setting’
Visiting Copenhagen, meeting colleagues not seen for many years and eating and drinking.
Key lightbulb moment in terms of Social Work practice/assessment
‘Depression and Demoralisation: Common Points and Differences.’ Luigi Grassi Italy.
Food for thought in terms of specific support. I had never heard of demoralisation as a diagnostic term. (I have the slides if any others are interested).
Having attended over 24 research sessions presented by researchers and clinicians, it dawned that ‘they’ are no different to ‘us’.
I should have ticked the box that offered an oral presentation of the abstract.
We could have done it and should have done it.