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2017 Conference

Review provided by Dr. Brian Draper, MBBS MD FRANZCP

This 3-day meeting was a joint meeting of the RANZCP Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age (FPOA) and the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA). IPA ran four pre-conference workshops and FPOA organised the following 2-day meeting with a theme of ‘Capacity, Creativity and Ageing in Clinical Practice’. Overall the meeting was a great success with 356 people attending from 15 countries; indeed the FPOA part of the meeting was sold out with over 300 registrants while the IPA workshops attracted 252 registrants.

Queenstown is located on New Zealand’s South Island on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountains. In winter it is the hub of the New Zealand ski fields. Overnight spring snow before the workshops turned the mountains into a picture postcard backdrop to the meeting with extensive snow-capped peaks framing the lake.

The IPA pre-conference workshop day had four workshops. There were two full day workshops: one on neuroimaging and biomarkers led by John O’Brien, Colin Masters and Chris Rowe; the other being the 4th International Conference on Capacity led by Carmelle Peisah and featuring Robin Jacoby and Helen Chiu along with other local and international speakers. The two half day workshops included one on the ‘Management of BPSD using psychosocial interventions’ led by Wendy Moyle and the other was on 'Late Life Mood Disorders' led by George Grossberg in which I was involved. The workshops were well received. There was a lot of audience interaction and positive feedback.

Day 1 of the FPOA meeting featured the keynote address by Robin Jacoby from the UK who spoke about testamentary capacity in a humorous, historical and instructive fashion. On Day 2 Henry Brodaty gave the second keynote address on the mental health of centenarians with much of the information deriving from his research in this area.

Invited presentations on both days were designed as a mix of clinical updates in late life (anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, substance abuse, PTSD and psychiatric aspects of Parkinson’s disease), controversial and contemporary issues (euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, the ageing psychiatrist, cross-cultural aspects), research updates (drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease, self-harm in late life) and advanced trainee projects (clozapine, DNR orders, religion, cognition in ECT). There were two parallel sessions from abstract submissions along with a poster session.

Overall the meeting was of very high quality and received excellent feedback from attendees. This model of IPA combining with a local organisation to put on a joint meeting worked very well.

Dr. Draper is a conjoint professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, the Assistant Director of the Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick, Australia and honorary senior research fellow at Neurosciences Research Australia, Randwick, Australia. Dr. Draper’s research interests are diverse. He has been involved in suicide research since 1993 with the publication of papers on attempted suicide in old age, suicide prevention in the elderly, suicidal ideation, and indirect self-destructive behavior in nursing homes. Other research interests include behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, carer stress, depression in old age, psychogeriatric service delivery, and professional development. He has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on these topics and is the co-editor of an Oxford University Press book on Geriatric Consultation Liaison Psychiatry.


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