Palliative Care WA State Conference 2016

Palliative Care WA State Conference 2016

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Keynote Speakers

Dr Sarah Winch is Head of the Discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professionalism at the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland and is the CEO of Health Ethics Australia. She is a registered nurse and health care ethicist with thirty years’ experience in the management, research and education in end-of-life matters. She teaches ethics and law to medical students, conducts research on futile treatment, and consults widely to the community and healthcare professionals on ethics at end of life, resource allocation, and improving the ethical culture of healthcare workplaces. Sarah is well published with over 60 academic articles to her credit and in 2013 she authored The Best Death Possible: A Guide to Dying in Australia. She is committed to improving death literacy amongst Australians.


Sarah is recognised nationally for her work in improving death literacy for Australians and internationally for promoting ways for clinicians to maintain compassion satisfaction. Dr Winch established Queensland's first secular clinical ethics service at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and consults regularly to clinicians nationally and internationally on issues of ethical concern. She is committed to designing and delivering clinically relevant courses in medical ethics, law and professionalism using innovative methods that engage and challenge students.


Plenary Keynote Speaker: Romance or Reality. Is it Possible to Have a Good Death in Australia?

What does your dream death look like? Will you be surrounded by a loving family at home, sipping champagne, nibbling on fine chocolate, pain free in silk pyjamas with your faithful dog by your side? Or does your mind ricochet from one awful dying story reported in the media to another? 

For those with a terminal illness the current end of life landscape appears like a chaotic jungle of service providers, evidence and myth with no clear path at a time when energy is low and emotions are high. In this presentation Sarah will present some broad based evidence about our healthcare system as well as unpack two common myths about end of life care and identify some simple planning strategies that can help you or yours get the best death possible in Australia.

Dr Scott Martin is the Group Leader of Applied Physics at CSIRO’s Lindfield site n NSW. The Group encompasses approximately 35+ researchers across Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney with core expertise in physics, sensors, devices and instruments. They undertake commercial industrial projects and strategic research for a multitude of Australian and International sectors, including: telecommunications, defence & aerospace, heavy transport, health diagnostics, mineral characterisation, synchrotron instrumentation, mineral exploration, scientific instrumentation, autonomous vehicles and renewable energy.


Scott has interests and experience in biosensing, nanoscience, surface plasmon spectroscopy, and optical instrumentation. He has experience in prototype product development in invitro diagnostics (IVDs), automation of lithographic offset printing presses and non-destructive testing for aerospace. He currently leads two projects: a project to develop a molecular fingerprint based IVD for tuberculosis (funded by the Department of Industry in Australia and the Indian Government via the Australia India Strategic Research Fund, AISRF), and a project to develop a very low cost solar heliostat for the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI).


He is a regular volunteer with HammondCare at Neringah Hospital and does the happy hour trolley on Saturday mornings with his partner who used to be a nurse. She speaks Mandarin and Cantonese which gives special joy to Chinese patients and families. Over the years he has developed a keen interest in imagining the future and has commissioned industry sector scenario activities in community and aged care.


Plenary Keynote Speaker: Can High-Tech be High-Touch?

The prospect of high technology becoming increasingly used in the care for the unwell and dying is unlikely to be welcomed by palliative care practitioners. This is to be expected, because technological devices have always been about functions and rarely, if ever, about relationships. Does this have to be the case? Does high tech necessarily imply low touch? Or perhaps it’s just that technology isn’t sufficiently sophisticated yet.


Today’s technology can be effectively adopted to enhance palliative care – such as improving team coordination, connection with family and friends, easing cultural and linguistic gaps and managing complex cases. However, many of the potential benefits are not and will not be realised because the technology requires a lot of careful planning, training, time and expense. Future technology will be different. It will be much easier to use , and will enable scales and complexities beyond the capacity of a human. We are already seeing some instances of this today.


Thinking further out, how sophisticated does an artificial “personality” need to be before we feel natural interacting with it? Some scenarios will be presented with impacts to palliative care.

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