More patients than ever before took part in the ERS International Congress in Amsterdam last week. There were 16 patients (pictured Gabriela Spita from ARB-TB Romania), who gave presentations as speakers in scientific sessions to large audiences and who took part in educational sessions as patient demonstrators. There were many more patients, representing over 35 patient organisations, giving presentations to other patient organisations and scientific societies, and attending or running workshops, guideline groups and meetings.
One way of supporting patients attending Congress was to encourage them to complete the new EPAP module on participating in healthcare conferences. The patient speakers were also offered practical support by being allocated a guide for the day. The guides were healthcare professionals, who had volunteered to look after a patient to make their experience comfortable and more enjoyable. There has been a lot of positive feedback from both the patients and the guides about this new scheme.
Patients have by now become an integral part at the ERS Congress and this year has shown how successful patient involvement can be achieved.