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Conference Report

Children’s palliative care now! Highlights from the second ICPCN conference on children’s palliative care, 18–21 May 2016, Buenos Aires, Argentina

23 Aug 2016
J Downing, R Kiman, S Boucher, B Nkosi, B Steel, C Marston, E Lascar, J Marston

The International Children’s Palliative Care Network held its second international conference on children’s palliative care in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from the 18th–21st May 2016. The theme of the conference was ‘Children’s Palliative Care…. Now!’ emphasising the need for palliative care for children now, as the future will be too late for many of them. Six pre-conference workshops were held, addressing issues connected to pain assessment and management, adolescent palliative care, ethics and decision-making, developing programmes, the basics of children’s palliative care, and hidden aspects of children’s palliative care. The conference brought together 410 participants from 40 countries. Plenary, concurrent, and poster presentations covered issues around the status of children’s palliative care, genetics, perinatal and neonatal palliative care, the impact of children’s palliative care and the experiences of parents and volunteers, palliative care as a human right, education in children’s palliative care, managing complex pain in children, spiritual care and when to initiate palliative care. The ‘Big Debate’ explored issues around decision-making and end of life care in children, and gave participants the opportunity to explore a sensitive and thought provoking topic. At the end of the conference, delegates were urged to sign the Commitment of Buenos Aires which called for governments to implement the WHA resolution and ensure access to palliative care for neonates, children and their families, and also commits us as palliative care providers to share all that we can and collaborate with each other to achieve the global vision of palliative care for all children who need it. The conference highlighted the ongoing issues in children’s palliative care and participants were continually challenged to ensure that children can access palliative care NOW.

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