The 23rd International EAUN Meeting (EAUN23) experience in Milan was a fusion of immersive activities and eye-opening lectures. As travel grant recipients, we enjoyed enriching our knowledge and skills, as well as meeting peers from around the world. In this report, we share our individual impressions and valuable take-home messages from EAUN23.
Watch and learn
Mrs. Gun Danielsson (SE) kickstarted her EAUN23 participation with the visit to the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital. According to Mrs. Danielsson, the hospital visit was well organised. She and the rest of the participants received information about the hospital, the university, and areas of research the hospital undertakes. Then the participants were divided into three groups for a guided tour: One group visited the operating theatre and the remaining two groups visited two urological care departments. “Seeing urological units in different countries is useful. I could see similarities and differences with my own department in Sweden,” shared Mrs. Danielsson.
A focus on sarcopenia
Ms. Junker recently started working more in the bladder cancer (BCa) team at her institution. She attended the EAUN23 lecture by Mrs. Marian Rombouts (NL) on the physiotherapist’s role regarding preparation and rehabilitation. This lecture highlighted that sarcopenia reduces the overall survival rate, increases rates of postoperative complications, lengthens the hospital stay, and decreases adherence to adjuvant therapies among BCa patients.
“Knowing how crucial sarcopenia is for recovery in the population of BCa patients, knowledge from the lecture is something I will bring home from the meeting. Many of our patients who end up having a cystectomy have been in contact with our department for extended periods,” stated Ms. Junker. She added that the lecture made her think about how nurses should keep prehabilitation in mind earlier than what is currently done. She contacted a physiotherapist to teach more about sarcopenia and what to offer their patients at the outpatient clinic. Ms. Junker also enjoyed the outlining of tools used to assist the shared decision-making presented by Mrs. Deepa Leelamany (GB).
Frailty in BCa patients
During Thematic Session 7: Bladder Cancer Special Interest Group session: Frailty in bladder cancer – an underestimated marker in clinical practice?, Ms. Junker also found the lecture by Dr. Katharina Skovhus Prior (DK) interesting. It centred on how to counteract frailty and what is the current evidence. “I look forward to following her PhD project on Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment for perioperative optimisation in radical cystectomy (COMPETENCE). A project that hopefully will benefit many of our patients,” said Ms. Junker, who also met up with the EAUN Special Interest Group for Bladder Cancer.
Mrs. Danielsson shared that she, too, found the lectures of the session interesting. She said, “How do we really know which of our patients are fragile? We can see that some are old and fragile, but in some cases, it is not visible based on a patient’s appearance alone.” Mrs. Danielsson cited the definition by Clegg et al which was published in Lancet 2013: “ Frailty is a multidimensional and dynamic age-related condition characterised by declining function across multiple physiological and psycho-social factors, accompanied by an elevated vulnerability to stressors.”
The session presented a review of various measuring instruments used as aids in identifying the fragile patients. There are more than 60 frailty assessment tools. Although none of the instruments are perfect nor universal, the screening tools are recommended for cancer patients aged 70 years and above. Some of the instruments presented during the session included the G8 Questionnaire, Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA), Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS), Edmonton Frailty scale (EFS), Electronic Frailty Index (eFl) and Modified Frailty Index (mFl). The most effective/efficient tool in urological patients appears to be the Modified Frailty Index (MFi5)/CFS. Throughout the session, “think frailty” was underscored.
“Where I work, we currently have no routine nor measuring instrument to find the fragile patients. After listening to the lectures, I realise that this is something we should have. I will spread this newfound-knowledge to my colleagues so that we can implement this. As a start, we must investigate whether any of the measuring instruments that were presented have been translated into Swedish,” stated Mrs. Danielsson.
Expanding one’s world
According to Mrs. Danielsson, attending the lectures was rewarding; going to EAUN23 offered more than lectures and various poster presentations. She added, “It is exciting to visit the exhibition, see novel technologies, and familiarising with new literature. I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to the industry and the sponsors as well. They help develop healthcare and make opportunities to meet possible.”
“Aside from the exciting lectures and meeting familiar and new colleagues, I truly enjoyed having the time to connect with nurses and doctors from my institution. We had a lot of lively and interesting discussions on the different lectures we attended. In addition to talking about how to implement new perspectives in our institution, we also exchanged ideas about new projects, which hopefully will benefit our patients back home. Doing interdisciplinary research is the way to go if we what to make a difference for our patients. I want to thank EAUN for the opportunity to attend the meeting. I look forward to seeing peers and connecting with new friends in Paris at EAUN24!” Ms. Junker concluded.
About the travel grant
The Annual EAUN Travel Grant allows EAUN members who are working in the field of urology and based in Europe to participate in the EAUN Meeting. Non-members can apply for the grant providing they have submitted a paid EAUN membership application. For membership details, please go to http://nurses.uroweb.org/nurses/membership. Those who have applied for the grant but were not selected can re-apply.