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Conference Proceedings
23 (
); 116-120

IAPCON 2017 Proceedings

Joint Organizing Secretary, IAPCON 2017, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Address for correspondence: Dr. Rajith Ramachandran, V N Cancer Centre, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, PN Palayam, Coimbatore - 641 037, Tamil Nadu, India. E-mail:

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

This article was originally published by Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd and was migrated to Scientific Scholar after the change of Publisher; therefore Scientific Scholar has no control over the quality or content of this article.


Coimbatore city has been blessed with advanced Health Care services for several years now. However like many places in India access to Palliative Care has lacked behind despite the best efforts from G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital and few other NGOs. There is currently only one Palliative Care centre serving around 20 lakh citizens living in and around the city. It was high time to bring about some change, open minds to Palliative Care and we believed that IAPCON will be the best way forward. IAPCON 2017 was devoted to increase access to high quality, evidence based Palliative Care by creating awareness amongst public and Health Care providers.

The three day programme covered various aspects of Palliative care like awareness, learning, deciding right and caring until the very end. The conference was a platform for well over 950 participants from 17 Countries, 18 States and 4 Union territories within India, to interact and share their expertise.

The wheels were set rolling just after the Pune conference in February 2016. Dr Chitra Venkateswaran, Dr Odette Spruyt and Dr Charu Singh joined us as scientific chairs during the Pune conference. It was our aim to make this conference accessible to not just doctors and nurses but also to volunteers and other health care professionals who have lot to contribute to improving Palliative Care in our Country. We invited several new national and international speakers with diversity and quality in mind.


Five workshops were conducted on the 8th and 9th of February. The EPEC Paediatric and research mentoring workshops were conducted by TMH. Introduction to Palliative Care for nurses and leadership skills for volunteers, both workshops were conducted at the Raksha Hospice. The “Palliative care for all- all diseases, all stages and all settings” workshop was conducted for Hospital and Family doctors, nurses and Health Care providers. This programme had speakers from IMA, AFPI and IPPCN introducing the concepts of Palliative Care. Various models of delivering Palliative Care were also presented during the event. The workshops were accredited by the Tamil Nadu Medical and Nursing Council and were highly rated by all the participants.



Hall E, Codissia. A huge 4000 sq. mts exhibition area was partitioned into three sound proof halls over the span of 3 days for the conference. The huge space available was appreciated by everyone.

IAPCON hall, Codissia, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Finger painting, Tree of Life, Venue entrance
Inauguration ceremony dignitaries and presenters: Dr. Balaji, Dr. MR Rajagopal, Mrs. Vanitha Mohan, Ms. Neerja Malik, Dr. Mary Ann Muckaden, Dr. Ragupathy Veluswamy


Day one started with Dr M R Rajagopal facilitating the Life after Death movie and Dr Kavitha Ramachandran from Stanford School of Medicine demonstrated e-learning modules.


The inaugural function started with welcome note by Dr Ragupathy Veluswamy, the Chairman for the conference and CEO of G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital. Chief Guest, Mrs Vanitha Mohan, Managing Trustee of Siruthuli & President of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries addressed the participants with her personal experience of caring for her parents during their last days and importance of Palliative Care being available to all. The Guest of Honour Ms Neerja Malik, a cancer survivor and motivational speaker followed on with a heart melting speech on various aspects of care and support required in a cancer journey. Dr Balaji, the Organizing Secretary welcomed everyone for a wonderful three day programme and briefed on the importance of this conference to the city.

Dr K B Linge Gowda, Director of KMIO was the proud recipient of the Palliative Care award for the year 2016 presented by Cancer Aid Society. Dr Rohanti Ravikulan, Junior Resident Doctor from PSG Institute of Medical Sciences at Coimbatore was honoured with the Bruce Davies Gold Medal award.

Dr Muckaden, President of IAPC launched the Palliative Care Helpline on behalf of IAPC and Medulla Communications.

Inauguration ceremony

Plenary session

  • Implementing standards in Palliative Care by Dr Karl Lorenz from Stanford School of Medicine

  • Palliative Care is everyone's business, GSF experience in the UK by Prof Keri Thomas, National Clinical Lead for the Gold Standard Framework Centre.

Parallel sessions

Sessions were conducted on management of pain and other symptoms like delirium, anorexia and ascites. Helping children with HIV, addressing their spiritual needs and role of motivation, volunteerism and religion in Palliative Care were other topics presented by invited speakers. Live demonstrations were conducted for lymphedema and stoma care. The post lunch sessions covered psychological issues in Palliative Care and included topics like self-care of the carer, CBT. Role of Palliative care in degenerating neurological disorders was another session chaired by Dr Jeremy Johnson and Dr Roop Gursahani. Dr Mhoira Leng facilitated a session on diversity and integration of Palliative Care across the spectrum of Palliative Care providers. Dr Ann Thyle, Dr Geetha Joshi, Dr Republica Sridhar presented models of palliative care provided in the community, hospital and Hospice respectively and this opened up very productive and interesting questions and ideas from the audience.


Another day packed with several thought provoking sessions started with Ms Karen Anderson facilitating the Choice is yours movie. The documentary film was based on the life and philosophy of one of the world's greatest psychiatrist Dr Victor Frankl, with a focus on cancer and Palliative Care. There was also demonstration of e-learning modules to participants.

Plenary sessions

  • International Collaborative of best care of the Dying Person by Dr Stanley Macaden, project lead

  • Legislation on EOL care by Dr Roop Gursahani, Consultant Neurologist at Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai

  • Palliative Care and Humanitarian Aid- Dr Brett Sutton, Assistant Director, Department of Health and Human Services, Burnet Institute, James Cook University

  • Palliative Care, Universal coverage from Indian Perspective by Dr Gayatri Palat, Director- Palliative Care access program in India.

Parallel session presentation at Hall A

Parallel sessions

Dr. Naveen Salins, Prof. Julia Downing and Dr. Elizabeth Namukwaya presented the importance of Qualitative research to the participants. Ms Prachy Kathuria from Health India Alliance and Dr Nandini Vallath spoke regarding NCDs, prioritising prevention and Indian Government policies. Dr Sushma Bhatnagar and Dr Atul Ambeker provided an update on opioids and management of pain in patients with dependence issues. Several other topics like mental illness, issues in transgenders, elderly neglect, refugees and homelessness was presented by renounced speakers like Dr Dan Munday, Dr Alka Ganesh and Dr Manuel Traschel. One of the session was regarding turning points in clinical trajectory, this was a very interesting session with Dr Savita Butola presenting various day to day clinical scenarios regarding patients facing life limiting medical problems and inviting comments from Hospital doctors and Palliative Care physicians about when and what to intervene. The session produced some challenging questions and discussions. There were clinical sessions on management of breathlessness, constipation and End of Life nursing.


Children of AMRIT- Centre for Special needs went on stage to give a colourful performance on different festivals in Tamil Nadu. The children had trained for 6 months to entertain everyone and at the end of their performance we could hardly see any eyes without tears. This was followed by a session on stress free living by Ms. Sashirekha Venkatesh, trainer at the Art of living. Participants were then invited to the amphitheatre just behind the venue where Musicians from Shivanjali, Temple for Fine Arts treated them with fine classical Indian music. The mind blowing programme followed with a sumptuous south Indian Feast which was enjoyed by everyone. The enchanted evening will be cherished by our guests for a long time.

Instrumental music performance from Shivanjali, Temple for Fine Arts, banquet dinner on Day 2
Performance by childen of Amrit, school for special needs


Plenary session

  • Chronic Sorrow: A path less travelled by Ms Karen Anderson a senior Counsellor, Cancer Council Western Australia

  • Philosophical and cultural situatedness of spirituality at the end of life by Reverend Dr Hamilton Inbadas, Ordained Minister of Church of South India.

Parallel sessions

Dr Anil Paleri chaired a session which outlined the latest developments in Palliative Care in India. There were representatives from various sectors of India updating on their recent achievements. The other sessions covered topics like nurturing relationships and rehabilitation. These were also speakers talking on Interventions in Continuum of Care and importance of mindfulness in chronic diseases.

Question time session

Dr Mhoira leng facilitated a question time session on newer developments to meet the huge Palliative Care needs in India. Mr Shyam Viswanathan, Ex-Associate Dean of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and Mr Premkumar Raja, Trustee of Nightingales Medical trust, Bangalore were the invited speakers for the session. Mr Premkumar Raja spoke on how to set up a successful community based elder care service through his experience in establishing a successful Dementia Care Centre and Mr Shyam presented various technologies to improve access to Palliative Care in India. Dr M R Rajagopal, Prof Karl Lorenz and Prof Keri Thomas shared their thoughts on use of technology and various methods of improving access. A brief introductory talk was followed by questions from the audience and the session generated several useful discussions over various challenges and developments required.


The best 3 abstracts chosen by reviewers were given opportunity to present during the plenary.

  1. Implementation of a standardised 6 weeks residential Course for Doctors and Nurses in India by Dr. Suresh Reddy

  2. Assessment of knowledge, attitude and practice of Oncologists regarding EOL care: Survey in Tertiary Care Centre by Dr Lipika Patra

  3. An evaluation of nurse prescribing in Palliative Care in Uganda by Prof Julia Downing.

42 presentations were chosen from a whole lot of abstracts submitted by students, volunteers, doctors, nurses and other Health Care professionals. All presentations were scored by the respective chairs and three best presentations were awarded during the Valedictory function.

1st Prize: Treatments given to patients in the last month of their lives at a Regional Cancer Centre in India. Author: Dr Jean Jacob.

2nd Prize: A clinical audit of the pain management and it's documentation among patients receiving care at an Oncology Centre in Rural Gujarat: Dr Dinesh Kumar.

3rd Prize: Change in adaptive behaviours of chronically ill children through psychological interventions: Dr Janaki K Neelakandan.

3rd Prize: Caring for the professional care providers; felt needs and challenges in Cancer Palliative Care centres: Dr Amanpreet Kaur.

Thanks to all our chairs and our abstract reviewers: Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, Prof Jane Phillips, Dr Lulu Mathews, Dr Shoba Nair, Dr S K Chaturvedi, Prof Julia Downing, Dr. Carol Douglas.


90 chosen posters were displayed over two days. Judges had a tough time in choosing the best three of the lot.

1st Prize: The impact of a Palliative Care spiritual intervention program on patient's wellbeing through a North Indian Domiciliary Care Hospice service. Author: Brenda Ward.

2nd Prize: Establishing a Palliative Care – link nurse program- Process and outcome, Author: Athul Joseph Manuel.

3rd Prize: Will Health Care professionals consider advance directives for themselves in the event of a Terminal Illness. Author: Dr Shoba Nair.

Thanks to our Judges: Dr Janet Hardy, Dr Fiona Rawlinson, Dr Lulu Mathews, Dr Scott Murray, Dr R Akileswaran, Dr Punita Lal, Dr Gayatri Palat, Dr Daniel Munday.

Poster walk
Foyer with photo art contest displayed


Theme: Compassionate Care.

1st Prize: Dr Rudhan Porunmozhy from Pondicherry.

2nd Prize: Mr Thomas A L Price from London.

Thanks to Ms Divya Chandran and Ms Priya Devarajan for organizing the contest and displaying the photos in the foyer during the conference. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of our expert judges Mr Marudhachalam, Mr Gopinath Rajagopal and Mr Hari Santharam.


  • Project India Meeting, led by Dr Stanley Macaden and Karunashraya Hospice

  • Indo-American Cancer Association meeting

  • Meeting of IPPCN and Academy of Family Physicians

  • North Indian Palliative Care meeting facilitated by Dr Savita Butola

  • IAPC General Body meeting.


The IAPCON 2017 with record breaking number of attendees, high ranking speakers from across the globe and in depth discussions on pressing challenges facing Palliative Care in India, was declared as a grand success by those in attendance. The event was successful in achieving all the objectives which was set out for.

The conference committee wishes to acknowledge with its deep sincere gratitude to all the support extended from the IAPC, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Hospital Management, the Coimbatore Cancer Foundation trust, sponsors, faculty, delegates and all supporters who made this happen.

IAPCON organising and scientific committee members

The success of this conference was an outcome of 12 months of meticulous planning and hard work by a team of efficient and dedicated members, whose vision was to promote and improve access to Palliative Care locally and nationally. The conference committee would like to thank all the members below for their outstanding commitment to the success of IAPCON 2017.

Scientific committee

Dr Chitra Venkateswaran, Dr Charu Singh, Dr Odette Spruyt, Dr Naveen Salins, Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, Dr Anil Paleri, Dr Gayatri Palat, Dr Shoba Nair, Dr Anjum Joad, Dr Mhoira Leng, Prof. Jane Phillips, Dr Mallika Tiruvadanan, Ms Alice Stella Verginia and Dr Savita Butola.

Organizing committee

Patron: Mr Pathy, Chairman: Dr Ragupathy Veluswamy, Organizing Secretary: Dr T Balaji, Dr Vidya Kumarasamy, Dr Anand Narayan, Dr Latha Balasubramaniam, Dr Karthiga Sivaprakasam, Ms Sunitha Venkatkumar, Ms Divya Chandran, Ms Priya Devarajan, Ms Shobhana Kumar, Mr Rajesh, Ms Veena, Ms Reena, Ms S Firose, Dr Chandrasekar, Dr A Rajkumar, Dr B Sivanesan, Dr Mohan Raj, Dr Arulraj, Dr M Nagarajan, Dr A Kavya, Dr N Lena and Dr V Priyanaka.

Mr Vignesh, Mr Arun Moses, Mr Nagaraj, Mr Rangaraj, Mr Murali and their team members, Ms Bhanu Rao and GKNMH PR team and the news reporters.

We like to extend our best wishes to Dr Sushma Bhatnagar and her team for a successful IAPCON 2018.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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