Sarah Lutes - ISOPP 2014 Summary Report

Upon finding out this year’s conference theme, “Building Partnerships in Care”, I thought I knew what that meant.  I thought that there would be discussions on interprofessional learning and collabortive models of care, which in fact there were. However, what I didn’t realize is that I would take away much more from this conference than how to build relationships with my collegues and how to ensure pharmacy has a defined role within our practice sites.  What stuck out to me the most was our relationships with our patients, and their own respective relationships within their individual support systems.  Mike Lang’s presentations on both the re-personalization of healthcare and the unmet needs of the caregivers, really highlighted this gap in our care.  He demonstrated that while we may have more and more knowledge and technology helping us fight cancer as a disease, the need for improved psychosocial resources continues to grow, both for our patients and their caregivers.  There is now a trend towards whole-person care, and as pharmacists in direct contact with our patients, we have a role to play in this.  At conferences, it seems logical to network with other professionals in order to understand how other institutions across the globe are implementing change and pushing boundaries within pharmacy practice itself, but what about the interpersonal aspects of healthcare?  What can we learn from each other about caring for our “whole” patient.  I think Mr. Lang said it best when quoting a patient he had worked with who had said, “If not more days to life, then more life to days. Stay engaged.”   I am trained to do what I can with the scientific knowledge I have about cancer and it’s treatment, however this conference taught me that I can do more than that.  Each conference I attend motivates me to be at the forefront of change and encourages me to continue to seek new opportunities and new processes that will benefit my patients.  ISOPP 2014 motivated me to see my patient as a whole person with needs outside of their medical treatment…and to stay engaged.