Highlights from the 4th Annual Palliative Wound Care Conference

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By Aletha Tippett MD

What a wonderful time we had in Indianapolis in mid-May at the 4th Annual Palliative Wound Care Conference. 150 people from as far away as Turkey were there for two and a half days to learn and share about palliative wound care. We had two full days, Thursday and Friday, with high quality excellent lectures.

Dr. Bruce Chamberlain’s lecture on dealing with pain and suffering with wounds was exceptional, challenging and very helpful and encouraging. We had an enlightening lecture on moisture damage and incontinence from Steve Salomon, RN. We gained more insight into pressure ulcers and deep tissue injury from Dr. Diane Langemo. Dr. James Spahn provided us with up-to-date information and a better understanding of how pressure support surfaces work and how to select them. Dr. Alvarez beguiled everyone with his keynote address on palliative wound care, then later returned to cover the difficult topic of handling fungating tumors. Mary Ellen Posthauer, RD was scheduled to speak on nutrition and enhancing quality of life but she had to be absent and Dr. Diane Langemo graciously gave her lecture for her. Dr. Danielle Bajakian showed us very interesting information on dealing with critical limb ischemia at the end of life. Dr. Janeta Tansey’s late Friday lecture about ethics and authenticity was profound and uplifting; we could have listened to her for hours.

While there was much for each of us to take home, there were several areas that generated special interest. One of these was maggot therapy where Dr. Ron Sherman gave a very informative lecture about the use of maggots, followed the next day by three hands-on workshops on using maggots. Many attendees said they now felt comfortable trying to use maggots in their practices. Another area that gave many attendees new tips and ideas was an ostomy care lecture by Jean Tuthill, RN, followed by three hands-on workshops on Saturday where attendees got to prepare ostomy bags for various situations. The workshops on wound wrapping and wound dressings were well attended and well received. Attendees said they learned a lot and even wished they could spend more time on the subject. These workshops were preceded by lectures on the topic by Dr. Oscar Alvarez and Dr. Diane Krasner, who also conducted the workshops.

The workshops were held on Saturday morning, five different workshops each held three times. It was a very busy schedule with lots of activity. Derma Sciences graciously conducted a workshop on total contact casting. The other workshops on maggots, ostomy care, wound dressings, and wound wrapping were conducted by the lecturers for each topic.

Our space for exhibitors was filled and exhibitors and attendees enjoyed the intimacy and closeness to discover new ideas and share information.

Attendees overall were very positive about their experiences at the conference and even nurses who had years of experience in the field said it was helpful because it confirmed a lot of what they did and gave them some new ideas.

Plans are already under way for the next Palliative Wound Care Conference. Providing a quality conference that meets or exceeds the level of this year's conference will take work and we are planning to hold it in 2015 to give enough time to prepare. In the meantime, we are trying to combine with the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine annual conference by conducting a workshop as part of their conference. The decision on that has not been made yet, but would be a beneficial combination of forces.

About The Author
Aletha Tippett MD is a family medicine and wound care expert, founder and president of the Hope of Healing Foundation®, family physician, and international speaker on wound care.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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