Conference and Professional Development Grant recipient: Roslyn Savage

27 June 2014
Roslyn Savage crop

The First International Congress on Whole Person Care

Palliative care physiotherapist and TCRN member Roslyn Savage was able to attend the First International Congress on Whole Person Care in Montreal in October 2013, thanks to a TCRN Conference and Professional Development grant.

“This conference brought together an international group of Health Care Professionals interested in advancing and promoting a transformation of the existing health care mandate to encompass whole person care,” explained Roslyn. “It challenged the current disease-focused approach to health care practice that can leave individual practitioners feeling isolated and sometimes burned out and patients dissatisfied with their care”.

Roslyn, who is based at Calvary Health Care Kogarah, gave an oral presentation at the meeting, entitled ‘Exercise–never too late: the meaning of exercise in advanced palliative care’. This detailed the results of her qualitative research into how exercise can still be an effective strategy to promote both physical and psychosocial factors in advanced disease. “Both patients and caregivers identified the positive impact of exercise” said Roslyn.

“Providing patients with opportunities for a shared illness experience and normalisation of their situation helped to promote improved mood and facilitated coping, whilst also maximising function at each point of illness”.

One subject area of particular interest to Roslyn during the meeting was the role of qualitative research in understanding the patient experience. “Whilst randomised control trials (RCTs) provide essential outcome data, understanding the patients’ perception & experience of treatment interventions is crucial” said Roslyn.

Roslyn was also interested in the concept of increasing resilience of health care practitioners, also discussed during the congress. The congress facilitated opportunities for developing skills in a range of supportive activities such as narrative writing, mindfulness meditation and yoga. Roslyn identified that “developing these skills and practices will also assist in the sustainability of the workforce”.

Roslyn reflected that the opportunity to attend the Whole Person Congress through the support of the TCRN enabled the sharing of her research with a broader audience and facilitated professional networking and collaboration.