On 12.10.2021. the Children’s Palliative Care Society conference ‘Tilti, kas vieno’ (‘Bridges that unite us’) will take place online

The Children’s Palliative Care Society conference ‘Tilti, kas vieno’ (‘Bridges that unite us’) will take place online, at www.tiltivieno.lv, from 10:00 to 14:00 on 12 October. October is the children’s palliative care awareness month. Care, family, worries, support, love, selflessness, tolerance, children: we all have these topics in common, as people, as families, as professionals. The conference will bring together members of the public, families, representatives of Latvian national and municipal agencies involved in providing palliative care services, and non-governmental organisations.

The speakers of the conference will include the head of the Children’s Palliative Care Society Anda Jansone; project manager at the Children’s Palliative Care Society Dace Kluša; Dr Julie Ling (board member of the European Association for Palliative Care, and consultant for the World Health Organisation), Prof Julia Downing (International Children’s Palliative Care Network, ICPCN); visceral therapist Artūrs Ķirps, paediatric intensivist Dr Pēteris Kļava; the discussion unit will include the head of the Treatment Quality Division of the Ministry of Health Sanita Janka,  head of the Social Services Department of the Ministry of Welfare Aldis Dūdiņš, health and social consultant for the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Ilze Rudzīte, head of the Dižvanagi association and Baltic Rehabilitation Centre Ilze Durņeva (Dižvanagi), Children’s Palliative Care Society representative and dad Miķelis Bendiks.

There are 8304 children with special needs[1] registered in Latvia, growing up both within families and without them. These children are all around us, but are often left unnoticed. More than 600 families received palliative care services, because they have children with particularly severe and terminal illnesses, and all of these families’ members need support.

Discussing the origin of the idea for the conference, Linda Zarovska, communication specialist at the Children’s Palliative Care Society, said: ‘There are many myths associated with children’s palliative care that still persist among the general public, such as that these children are about to die, troubled families, lots of sadness, even though palliative care, in essence, strives to maintain the best possible quality of life. Palliative care makes it possible to see that both sadness and joy can coexist. Families with children that have special needs do not want to feel different and rejected by society, walking in the street, visiting a doctor, various specialists, attending pre-school, school, events, having fun at playgrounds. This is why we all need to be involved.’

The ideas, conclusions and proposals created during the conference will be submitted to national and municipal government institutions for improving their palliative care services.

The Children’s Palliative Care Society has also begun its work on creating the ‘Sapņu tilti’ multifunctional children’s palliative care centre, a project that requires more public involvement and support, and this conference is one of the steps towards successfully implementing it. Conference schedule and registration, at www.tiltivieno.lv. Participation in the conference is free of charge.

The conference is organised by the Children’s Palliative Care Society, which in 2021 conducts activities to promote the public awareness of children with disabilities and their families as an integral part of society, of the significance of palliative care and of the opportunities that any person can used to participate in supporting families with children that have special needs. The event is financially supported by the Social Integration Fund, using funding allocated by the Latvian government. The Children’s Palliative Care Society is in charge of the content of the conference.  For more details, contact: Children’s Palliative Care Society communication specialist Linda Zarovska, phone 26179082, e-mail lindazarovska@gmail.com.

[1] ‘Bērni Latvijā’ (‘Children in Latvia’) collection of statistical data for 2019 of the Central Statistics Bureau.