Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rehabilitation in Palliative Care Conference experience

Recently I had the pleasure of being invited by Cathy Payne to speak to Allied Health Professionals about the potential of social media at the 2nd International Rehabilitation in Palliative Care Conference in Belfast, UK. After a largely uneventful trip (thank goodness after my experiences in Chile), I arrived in Belfast City Centre at 7.50 in the morning. The sun was shining but the shops were closed so I set off to do a little bit of exploring having left my bag at the hotel. I was rather dubious about the exploration as the concierge told me categorically that there was nothing at all to do in Belfast on a Sunday morning, however due to making friends with an open top bus tour salesman who helped me to make my own walking tour, I was able to prove him wrong. I particularly enjoyed the Dockside, St Georges Market, and the lovely worded Academical Institution.
Later in the afternoon I met up with Gail Eva. Gail is a Facebook friend of mine who I ’met’ via Will Wade, who I ‘met’ through blogging. Gail and I enjoyed a great conversation about the value of online networking for personal and professional development (and discussion of cat’s weddings) and indeed this was the theme of my presentation (the networking, not the cat's wedding). I was apprehensive about how the message would be received as we have all heard stories about the pitfalls of using social media to discuss work related matters and I knew from previous experience that I might be asking people to take a leap of faith.
The conference began with a review of policy relating to palliative care and palliative rehabilitation and I was astounded to realise that many of the emerging themes felt very familiar from my own time working in this area. What is palliative Care? What is specialist palliative care? What is supportive care? What is palliative rehabilitation? How can we make people understand what we do? And when I heard these questions being debated, and understood the passion and experience in the room I was confident that at least some delegates would recognise that the potential value of using social media to connect with others and to spread a message would far outweigh any risks that might be involved.
Post conference I am absolutely delighted to report that a considerable number of delegates are now using Facebook to make professional contacts or have made a Linkedin profile, or a Twitter account and are using them connect with others and to promote their work in palliative rehabilitation. I particularly like this blog by physiotherapist Joanne Brennan, and you can follow post conference developments on the Palliative Rehabilitation Facebook page.

Together we can make things happen.