The conference commenced with a two-day series of professional development workshops. Ms McGill attended ‘Mindfulness-based interventions in cancer care’, ‘Treating body image concerns of cancer patients’, and ‘Communication and challenging discussions at end of life’, which provided invaluable training in strategies to support cancer patients across the illness trajectory. In addition, Dr Sansom-Daly and Ms Donovan attended a workshop on ‘Acceptance and commitment therapy for cancer patients and survivors’. Dr Sansom-Daly also attended the workshop ‘Helping parents with advanced cancer talk with their children’ and Ms Donovan ‘Family Centred Bereavement Care’, both of which taught important practical and transferrable clinical skills.
Dr Sansom-Daly chaired a session titled ‘Delivering Psychosocial Care in Paediatric and Adolescent Oncology: Unique International Challenges and Opportunities’ consisting of three BSU-led presentations and a guest speaker, Dr Sima Zadeh from the National Cancer Institute.
Dr Wakefield began the session on the national dissemination and evaluation of a new resource, based on recent research with grandparents of children with cancer. As a pertinent example of translational research, the booklet is now published by RedKite and is provided to every newly diagnosed family in Australia. Please click here for more information about the grandparents study:
The data from the ‘Grandparents’ study has also been published, available here:
Ms Donovan followed with a presentation on her PhD research examining the place of professional and social support in the lives of parents following the death of their child from cancer. Ms Donovan spoke about parents’ many varied experiences and preferences for support following their child’s death, including the need for transitional hospital support to assist parents as they reintegrate into their community following the death of their child. More information about the ‘Compass’ study can be found here:
Ms Donovan’s review of hospital-based bereavement services is available at:
Dr Sansom-Daly discussed some of the clinical challenges in implementing psychosocial support in the online space, as experienced in the ‘Recapture Life’ trial. Challenges include effectively managing mental-health risks without traditional face-to-face contact, facilitating discussion about distressing cancer-related experiences in a group setting, and responding appropriately to participants’ health changes (e.g. cancer relapse) during the trial.
This data has recently been published in Australian Psychologist, available here:
Overall, the conference was a great success in allowing us to network and communicate BSU-led research to a global audience, immerse ourselves in the most innovative and exciting research from around the world, and learn gold-standard clinical skills to support patients from diagnosis through to survivorship.