LCPC Symposium 2016: When Caring Never Stops – Caring for Vulnerable Babies


On 27th August 2016, LCPC held an educational symposium to discuss how we provide care at the end-of-life for babies with terminal illnesses. During the one-day event attended by 164 clinicians, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals, we were fortunate to have with us Prof Brian Carter (Neonatologist and Paediatric Bioethicist, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, USA) and Ms Alexandra Mancini (Pan-London Lead Nurse for Neonatal Palliative Care, UK), as well as senior consultants from NUH, SGH and KKH sharing their valuable expertise and experiences. The symposium covered several key topics, including Difficult Decisions near the end-of-life, Relevant Legal Framework for end-of-life in Babies and Children, Impact of Guidelines on the Quality of Care, and End-of-Life Care in the NICU, including Care of the Healthcare Staff.


The symposium included a much-welcomed experience-sharing session by the parents of the late baby Andrew. They shared their experience as a family who has recently experienced the loss of a precious, young life. One participant said, “I appreciated very much the interview with the family. It was a moving experience and a strong reminder of why we do the work we do.”


The feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive, with 98% of the respondents expressing that the content met their learning objectives in terms of professional development. Similarly, 98% of the respondents felt that they had learned something from the talks they attended, while 95% felt they could apply what they had learned to their current practice.  One participant summarized it well: “Great conference—it opens your mind to new concepts… [and] skills to take back to your workplace.”


In order to learn more from our overseas speakers, we organized three pre-symposium events—half-day site visits by the speakers to the neonatology departments at SGH, KKH and NUH. At each site, there were case discussions and role-play sessions of a diverse nature. Participants found this interesting as it enabled hands-on teaching and learning for everyone.


We also enjoyed two lunchtime talks where Prof Carter spoke about “Words to Soothe or Harm: The Power of Good Communication in Facilitating Good Family Conferences” (lunch hosted by SGH), and Ms Alexandra Mancini spoke about “Stopping Treatment is not Withdrawal of Care: The Technical and Humanistic Elements” (lunch hosted by KKH). 


Prior to the symposium, the workgroup, in collaboration with the Lien Centre for Palliative Care (LCPC), conducted an Educational Needs Assessment to determine the strengths and identify the gaps in the current practice of neonatal care for babies with terminal illnesses. The results are presently being analysed.


The entire event was very fruitful because it brought together neonatologists from various centres and care settings to think about common goals and share best practices that can be emulated by everyone. The symposium proved to be a rich platform for interdisciplinary conversations, which are essential to the delivery of good health care to patients and their families.


Together with the workgroup, LCPC is looking forward to continuing the discussions for further improvement of neonatal care for vulnerable babies in the near future.


Slides Presented During LCPC Symposium 2016:

Challenging Conundrums - Difficult Decisions Near the End of Life by Professor Brian Carter


Uncertain Trajectories Best Practices from Start to Finish by Ms Alexandra Mancini


Holistic Management in Action: Interactive Exposition Using Case Vignettes by Professor Brian Carter


Impact of Guidelines on the Quality of Care: The UK Experience by Ms Alexandra Mancini


End of Life Care in the NICU by Professor Brian Carter


A Legal Framework for End of Life Care in Babies and Children - Perspectives by Professor Roy Joseph


Role of the Courts in Clinical Decision-Making on End-of-Life Care of a Neonate by Doctor Calvin Ho