About APLI

Palliative care is a specialised area of health care, which emerged in response to the need for better care of people with advanced, life-threatening illness, who are approaching the end of their lives. The focus is on whole person care, which includes care for the family or those who are looking after the patient.

In the words of Dame Cecily Saunders, who founded the modern hospice and palliative care movement, “Palliative care aims to put life into days, rather than days into life”.

In many parts of the world, palliative care remains in its infancy. Pain relief in the form of strong opioids is not available to the majority of people, end of life care falls squarely on the shoulders of the family who are largely unsupported by formal health care services. Costs of treatment and care are met by family and often lead to great financial hardships.

Many of us are fortunate to live in countries of greater wealth and associated health care systems which provide for all. Recognising the interconnectedness of our world, our common humanity, has led to the establishment of APLI. It is a way of building community across national and cultural boundaries, to work with our colleagues in other countries towards the common goal of the relief of suffering, reduction of isolation and lifting of the human spirit.

We often feel powerless to change or to respond to the suffering of others, trapped in our own lives, expectations of others, self-image, fear. APLI may help provide a bridge to another world, where our expertise, generosity, friendship can make a difference.

Personal reflection of Founder of APLI

“Finding your people”: Jean Vanier, who developed L’Arche, wrote and spoke about the importance of “finding your people”. For some, it is people with disability, for others, the homeless, for others, the elderly. Knowing who are “your people”, will provide motivation, and perseverance along the way. Volunteering in the Home for the Dying, Calcutta, India as a young doctor, made a deep impression and later led to many wonderful friendships among palliative care pioneers there. Working with people with cancer who are approaching the end of their lives, is my place in medicine and these are “my people”.

Odette Spruyt,

Founder, APLI

Who are we

We are a small organisation with a membership mainly of palliative care professionals, mostly Australian. We have supporters and friends who help with the activities of APLI.

We have a small executive who meet bimonthly by teleconference.

All are volunteers.

APLI became an incorporated association in 1995 and a registered charity in 2016.

Our strongest links are with Indian palliative care but we are developing links with other providers of palliative care in the Asia Pacific.

Project Focus

As some of you may be aware, in early 2016 the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) held four ‘APHN Dialogs’, in which clinicians across the Asia Pacific region could link in through Skype to attend a webinar. The following webinars took place:

- A discussion of palliative care service development in the Asia Pacific region, presented by Odette Spruyt
- Pain control in palliative care by Yoshiyuki Kizawa from Kobe, Japan
- Management of the cancer wound by Edward Poon from Singapore
- Bereavement care by Jun-Hua Lee from Taiwan

These sessions were well received and provided a valuable opportunity for clinicians in different countries to learn from an expert in that field and also to share their own professional experiences. Unfortunately, not all countries in the region have reliable internet coverage or sufficient bandwidth so some attendees were unable to join the meetings. In response to this, in recent months APLI has been looking at a new educational initiative in partnership with APHN.

Project Focus aims to set up online discussion groups between palliative care clinicians in specific countries in the Asia Pacific region and APLI mentors. Some nascent palliative care centres struggle with isolation, limited practitioner experience and variable institutional support. In effect, Project Focus would work towards similar objectives to Project Hamrahi: to improve the capacity for best practice patient care in the local setting and to reduce the isolation of palliative care providers in emergent services.

APLI is therefore calling for expressions of interest for mentors to volunteer their services to help support our regional partners. Project Focus would particularly suit clinicians who might otherwise find it difficult to travel overseas for mentoring work, as the contact will be online using a small group discussion format on the ‘Slack’ communication platform. APHN has already identified local clinicians in two separate services in remote and regional Indonesia who would like to be partnered with APLI mentors. In addition to this, there has also been some interest from doctors in Vietnam, Brunei and Nepal whose learning needs were unable to be supported by the APHN Dialogs.

Although the exact process will be flexible, it is proposed that education would begin with case presentations from the local APHN clinicians. These would then serve as a springboard for the APLI mentors to explain current evidence based practice recommendations. The subsequent discussion would then take into account local factors such as medication availability, local resources, staffing and other factors such that a viable and culturally appropriate management plan can be formulated.

I hope that you will share our excitement for this initiative. Project Hamrahi has demonstrated the value of teams of mentors made up of both doctors and nurses working together with local Indian clinicians over a sustained period of time. Project Focus has the potential to broaden the scope of such partnerships to other countries and so I invite you to contact me via chairman@apli.net.au with a short biography and reflection on why you would wish to work as a mentor.

- Anil Tandon


Your donations to APLI help in the following ways:

assist with training of doctors and nurses in palliative care practice in developing nations

support nurses to travel and teach as part of Project Hamrahi

help with purchase of critical site resources such as essential equipment and supplies,  medicines and educational materials