Conference Online

The 2016 Palliative Care Nurses Australia Conference 'From Foundation to Future' marks Palliative Care Nurses Australia's 10th Anniversary as an organization. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made over the past decade and to look towards the future to consider the issues that are likely to shape and impact palliative care nursing in the coming decade.

The Committee is pleased to confirm the following keynote presentations:

Cannabis: What is the Evidence for its use in Advanced Symptom Management

Professor Meera Agar

Professor Agar is the Professor of Palliative Medicine, Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, University of Technology Sydney, Palliative Care Specialist in South West Sydney and the clinical trial Director Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research. She leads a clinical research portfolio, which includes investigator led clinical trials and health service evaluation. She has a particular interest in the supportive care needs relating to impacts of advanced illness on the brain. She has recently led a world first clinical trial of antipsychotics in delirium. She has published extensively in the palliative care literature and has over 35M in competitive grant funding. She is leading the trial evaluating medicinal cannabis in terminal illness, funded by the NSW Government. Her research has been highly awarded, receiving the NSW Premier’s Cancer Research award for innovations in clinical trials, and the Palliative Care NSW awards for significance in palliative care research and innovation in palliative care in 2011; European Association for Palliative Care Early Career Researcher Award for her work in delirium in 2013 and the presidential poster prize at the American Geriatrics Society ASM 2015, in the clinical trial category.

New and Emerging Cancer Treatments and the Implications for Palliative Care Practice?

Professor David Currow

David Currow is Professor of Palliative and Supportive Services at Flinders University, Adelaide where more than 350 distance students from around the world study palliative care at a post-graduate level. Research includes clinical trials, population-based planning and codifying the evidence base underpinning palliative care. Research funders include the National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Institutes of Health (USA). He is the principal investigator for the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC) which has randomised more than 1600 palliative care patients across 21 sites to phase III symptom control studies. He is a foundation partner in the Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaborative (PCOC), an initiative to improve systematically clinical outcomes in palliative care. David has published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles, editorials and books. He is senior associate editor of Journal of Palliative Medicine and on the editorial boards of Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care and the Journal of Oncology Practice. David is a former president of Palliative Care Australia and the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia.

Better Managing Pain for People with Advanced Dementia: The Challenges and Solutions

Dr Thomas Fischer (RN)

Dr Thomas Fischer currently holds the position of Professor of Aged Care Nursing at Evangelische Hochschule Dresden – University of Applied Sciences (ehs), Dresden, Germany, where he is also responsible for the undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing. His main research focus is on pain in older persons, including: construction of instruments for pain assessment in older persons, especially those with cognitive impairments; and epidemiological studies on pain and pain management in nursing home settings. He contributed to the development of guidelines on the management of chronic pain and on pain assessment in long-term care. His other research is focused on the management of behavioural symptoms in dementia, on the conceptual development and outcomes of small-scale living arrangements for older persons, dementia-friendly hospitals and regional networks for geriatric care. He is the current chair of the German Pain Society’s Special Interest Group on Pain in Older Persons and member of the German Pain Society’s advisory board. He has just been appointed as member of the Saxonian state parliament’s committee inquiry into the future of nursing. As a 2016 Endeavour Fellow he will be in Australia progressing his older person’s pain research.

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: A Global Overview of Different Legal Approaches


Drivers of Futile Treatment in the Tertiary Context: Empirical Findings from a Medical Perspective

Professor Lindy Willmott

Professor Lindy Willmott is based at the Faculty of Law at the Queensland University of Technology and is a Director of the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at QUT. She researches in the area of health law, particularly end-of-life issues and is currently undertaking a number of empirical research projects funded by the ARC. She is also a Chief Investigator in a NHMRC funded Centre of Research Excellence on End of Life. Lindy is also the author of many text books and is one of the editors of the text ‘Health Law in Australia’. She is formerly a member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Queensland Law Reform Commission.

Diversity of Palliative Care Nursing Practice - Panel

Ms Regina Kendall

Regina Kendall is a Nurse Practitioner and works with the Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team in Victoria. In this role Regina undertakes clinical assessment of patients and supports health care professionals in acute, aged care and community settings across the Grampians region. Regina has worked in cancer and palliative care for over twenty years, and her passion is the delivery of excellence in care to people with a life limiting illness. Regina has been employed in both clinical education and advanced practice roles, with a clinical interest in community based palliative care and aged care. Regina is a member of the Centre for Palliative Care Advisory Committee, is a current representative for the Grampians Region on the Victorian Palliative Care Clinical Network, is a member of the Victorian Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Collaborative, and Palliative Care Nurses Australia (PCNA).


Dr Aileen Collier

Aileen is Senior Lecturer, Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University. She has worked in a diverse range of palliative care settings in Scotland and Lao PDR as well as Australia. Aileen’s research program sits at the interface of health research and social science and is focused on human agency, patient safety, and quality of palliative care. Her research undergirds a commitment to her practical work, with moral and pragmatic questions always being anchored to clinical ‘realities’. Aileen has a particular interest in transformative research methodologies. Her PhD “Deleuzians of Patient Safety: A Video-reflexive ethnography of end-of-life care was winner of the 2013 International Institute of Qualitative Methods ATLAS.ti award.

Ms Annabelle May

Annabelle is the Nurse Unit Manager for the Community Specialist Palliative Care Team at St Vincent’s Private Hospital in Brisbane. She has worked in palliative care for over 12 years, prior to this she was an Intensive Care Nurse. She has both a BSc and MSc in Palliative Care which she undertook at Kings College University, London and the Cicely Saunders Institute. Her main areas of interest are in equity of delivery and accessibility of community palliative care to all and disadvantaged groups such as the homeless, prisoners, and those living alone.


Ms Carmel Jekabsons

Carmel has been nursing 35 years, 18 years in a variety of roles in ACT Palliative Care. She has worked in CHH, HBPC, both Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital Consultancy Services. Her current role at Calvary Hospital in Canberra is Clinical Nurse Consultant with the Acute Hospital Consultancy Team. She works as a sole practitioner 4 days a week with the Palliative Medical Specialist from CHH available for phone advice and visiting the hospital twice a week for rounds. The service promotes discussion with the patient and their significant others to get to know their needs and concerns, develop goals of care, pain and symptom management, psychosocial needs, care options and end of life care.

Ms Alice Atyeo

After graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing from the Australian Catholic University, I completed a rotating graduate program at the Mater Adult Hospital in Brisbane. This included a rotation in an Oncology, Haematology and Palliative Care ward, which I found to be an interesting, challenging and rewarding area of nursing. I have since developed a passion for Palliative Care nursing and have worked in specialist Palliative Care units in both Brisbane and Canberra. My current role as a Level 2 Registered Nurse in the In-patient Hospice at Clare Holland House allows me the opportunity to work in a supportive and challenging environment while sharing my passion for providing supportive and holistic palliative care to patients and their families, with other like-minded professionals.

Ms Lisa MacDonald

Lisa Macdonald is nearing the completion of her palliative care nurse practitioner candidacy. During her candidacy, she spent several years working in a large metropolitan specialist palliative care service, and one year in a rural and remote community health service. Lisa has a background in oncology nursing, but also had a varied career before nursing, including teaching Indonesian language and working in several social justice organisations. She has special interests in motor neurone disease, palliative care in developing countries, and the challenges of providing care in remote areas.

Bridging Academic and Clinical Roles: Implementing a Research Role in a Palliative Care Service

E/Prof Margaret O'Connor AM

Margaret is Professor of Nursing at Swinburne University of Technology, where she is leading the development of a new Bachelor of Nursing course.

Until mid-2014, Margaret held the Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care Nursing at Monash University for 12 years. This was a successful University partnership with 3 clinical palliative care services in the south of Melbourne.  In that time, she established the Palliative Care Research Team as a major research stream in the School of Nursing & Midwifery. She has received continuous funding for her research and has over 130 peer-reviewed publications in her research area. She is an experienced higher degrees supervisor, with 21 completions and five current students. She remains Emeritus Professor of Nursing at Monash University.

Margaret has contributed to the development of palliative care in Australia at many levels, including President, Palliative Care Australia 2006-11; foundation Trustee, the World Palliative Care Alliance, 2008-11; and board member, Asia-Pacific Hospice Network, 2006-11. In recognition of this work, she received the national honour of an Order of Australia in 2005 (AM) and was made Life Member of Palliative Care Victoria in 2012. Margaret also sits on a number of boards and government committees.