Changing Horizons in Gerontology: Palliative Care and the Patient During the COVID 19 Pandemic

4 March 2021

Organised by: Irish Gerontological Society


Changing Horizons in Gerontology:

Palliative Care and the Patient During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, March 4th 2021     15.00-16.30

RCPI CPD Accreditation: 2 External Credits


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This event is open to IGS members only.  The programme is intended for healthcare professionals

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Prof Tony O'Brien

Contemporary Palliative Care - an overview

This interactive webinar, kindly sponsored by Kyowa Kirin, is designed and delivered by an international, multi-professional faculty of experienced palliative care practitioners. In the opening paper, Prof Tony O’Brien will describe the evolution of palliative care and summarise the core principles that underpin its practice across all care settings. Placing a strong emphasis on an individualised and holistic model of patient care that integrates scientific evidence with humanity, Prof O’Brien will challenge some of the misunderstandings that persist in respect of palliative care amongst health care professionals and the wider community. 

Outlining the importance of maintaining an optimal level of pain and symptom management as a means of enabling patients to live the life they choose to live for its natural duration, Prof O’Brien will explore the phenomenon of pain and will summarise the evidence in respect of the safe and appropriate use of opioids in selected and supervised patients. This will include an introduction to a range of common opioid related side-effects, of which bowel dysfunction is the most common and most problematic.

In the second paper of the afternoon, Prof Philip Larkin will continue with a more detailed exploration of the recognition and management of opioid related bowel dysfunction with reference to the international literature and current guidelines. 

In the final paper, Dr Daniel Nuzum will share some insights on the potential impact of Covid-19 on the normal individual and societal grief responses. Covid-19 related visiting restrictions and limitations on numbers attending funerals have drastically altered the way in which we traditionally mourn our loved ones and support the bereaved.  The consequences will unfold over time. 


Moderators: Dr Diarmuid O'Shea & Prof Tony O'Brien

Welcome     Prof Rose Anne Kenny, President of the Irish Gerontological Society

Introduction   Prof Tony O'Brien

Contemporary palliative care     Prof Tony O’Brien

Managing opioid-induced constipation and application of current palliative care guidelines to an older person population     Prof Philip Larkin

The potential impact of COVID on the grieving process Dr Daniel Nuzum


Rose Anne Kenny is Professor of Medical Gerontology and Head of the academic department of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin. She is the present President of the IGS. She is also director of the recently established Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) at St. James’s Hospital Dublin, which is a state of the art facility hosting ambulatory care, inpatients, education and research facilities for older adults. She is the founding Principal Investigator of Ireland’s largest adult population study on the experience of ageing– for The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing  (TILDA). She has a high international standing for her research on ageing ranked in the top 5% of geriatric medicine publications.

Prof Tony O’Brien MB FRCPI. Tony O’Brien is Clinical Professor of Palliative Medicine, College of Medicine & Health, University College Cork and Consultant Physician in Palliative Medicine at Marymount University Hospital & Hospice and Cork University Hospital. Prof O’Brien undertook his specialist training in London and held the post of Consultant Physician in Palliative Medicine at St Christopher’s Hospice London prior to taking up his current appointment in Cork. 

Prof O’Brien has served as Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care, the National Council for Specialist Palliative Care, the Irish Association for Palliative Care and the Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants’ Association.   Currently, Prof O’Brien serves as Chairperson of the European Pain Federation’s Expert Committee on appropriate opioid use and is special advisor to the European Pain Federation’s Working Group on Research and Policy development. 

Prof O’Brien is lead author of the European Pain Federation’s (EFIC) position paper on appropriate opioid use and is co-author of its position paper on standards for the management of cancer-related pain. Prof O’Brien has also co-authored a European Expert Consensus Statement on the pathophysiology and management of opioid induced constipation.  

Prof O’Brien has lectured and published on a wide variety of palliative care topics including ethical and legal aspects at the end of life.  

Prof Philip Larkin, Palliative and Supportive Care Service, Chair of Palliative Care Nursing Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Since August 2018, Philip Larkin has held the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair of Palliative Care Nursing within the Palliative and Supportive Care Service of the University Hospital Centre (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland. He also directs the Master of Science in Advanced Nursing Practice at the Institute for Higher Education and Research in healthcare (IUFRS), University of Lausanne.

An Irish national, Philip Larkin has over 30 years of experience in the palliative care sector, both clinically and academically, in Ireland and elsewhere: As Professor of Palliative Care at University College Dublin, he led the development of the All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care, a public health project bringing together The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to improves palliative care outcomes for all citizens. He was President of the European Palliative Care Association (EAPC) from 2015 to 2019.

His research has focused on access to palliative care for vulnerable and marginalized populations. The place of compassion in palliative care is also part of his academic scholarship.  He currently leads a palliative care nursing research team at the CHUV and continues to lecture nationally and internationally on nursing care, palliative care and compassion in care. His clinical work includes the care and management of constipation in palliative care and the publication of evidence-based guidelines in Ireland and internationally.

Daniel Nuzum is a Healthcare Chaplain and Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor/Educator. Daniel completed his PhD ‘The Spiritual and Professional impact of Stillbirth’  at University College Cork and currently works at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, and Cork University Hospital. Daniel has a specialist interest in palliative care, perinatal bereavement and spirituality in healthcare.

Due to priorities dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme, speakers and panel may be subject to change any time before this event. 

This page will be updated at the earliest opportunity in the event of any such changes