Salzburg OMI Seminar in Palliative Care in Neurology and Neuro-Oncology

Apr 15, 2022

The Open Society Foundation orchestrated a seminar this week revolving around Palliative Care in Neurology and Neuro-Oncology. The course took place from April 10 to 16, 2022 at Schloss Arenberg in Salzburg with 32 participants from 15 different countries.

Dr. Alan Carver, Attending Neurologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, led the seminar, marking his fourth participation in an OMI seminar. The expert faculty, all from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, included Dr. Allison J. Applebaum, Associate Attending Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Elena Pentsova, Associate Attending member of the Department of Neurology, and Dr. Andrew J. Roth, Attending Psychiatrist.

The week started with an introduction to palliative care, providing fellows with basic knowledge, overall goals of the course, and interesting studies on the effectiveness of palliative care, which is defined as the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Palliative care is about LIVING with incurable illness as well as possible for as long as possible.

Participants of this week’s seminar had the opportunity to redefine their professional obligation to their patients, their families, one another, and themselves.

Fellows attended 25 state-of-the-art didactic lectures on topics such as the assessment of delirium, anxiety and depression, an update on headaches and seizures, and common complications in caring for brain tumor patients. In addition, fellows had the opportunity to practice their communication skills in three role plays, each dealing with different topics and situations. The objective was to become familiar with frequently utilized and successful strategies for communicating with patients and families. Fellows learned strategies on how to start difficult conversations, how to manage angry patients, and more.

Thursday and Friday offered slots specifically dedicated to fellows’ case presentations, giving them the opportunity to share their own practical experiences with colleagues and faculty.

The free Wednesday afternoon offered a nice possibility for fellows and faculty to take a break and enjoy the sunny weather in Salzburg. Faculty members used the time to explore the culture of Salzburg via a guided tour through the city. On Thursday evening, fellows and faculty enjoyed a classical chamber music concert at Schloss Arenberg and Friday evening closed the course with a formal graduation ceremony and dinner.