- Meet Consumers/Patients
|Oley Annual Conference|
Oley Conference Fosters Community
Lisa Crosby Metzger
The Cape Codder Resort was hopping this June as over three hundred Oley members joined there for the 22nd annual Oley Consumer/Clinician Conference. Titled “Safe and Sound on HomePEN,” the conference was marked by a high level of attendance and by active participation by the attendees. A strong sense of community prevailed, and those new to Oley gatherings (as I was) were quickly made to feel welcome. And there was plenty to keep everyone busy.
Many Regional Coordinators came to the conference early to meet and discuss ideas about how to serve the Oley community. Faye Clements, RN, discussed listening skills with them. Don’t hesitate to call the RCs, and let them try out the new techniques they learned.
Wednesday night saw a bittersweet tribute to Dr. Lyn Howard, who has officially retired from clinical practice after more than thirty years at Albany Medical Center’s nutrition program. Numerous personal stories confirmed how much Dr. Howard has contributed, and how much she will be missed. Dr. Howard will continue on as Oley’s Research and Medical Director.
Thursday and Friday were packed with informative sessions on homePEN issues, with a trip to the tidal pools and miniature golf for the younger attendees. Session topics ranged from probiotics to reducing complications to managing pain. As usual, an afternoon-long enteral workshop was held on Friday.
Each afternoon the exhibit hall was crowded with conference-goers talking to exhibitors about the latest equipment or getting questions answered, and on Thursday evening the silent auction was lively—with“silent” referring only to the bidding. The donation of numerous items for the auction and generous bidding resulted in over $3,700 to go toward Oley programs.
The youth had opportunities to gather at several points during the conference: for the annual Jammin’ Jammies pajama party, for the youth activities, and for a teen roundtable session titled “Teens and Transitioning.” There was a huge turnout of youth this year!
A new addition to the program was a town meeting held Friday night. It was a great way of facilitating dialogue within the Oley community. Attendees made several suggestions that hopefully will take root at Oley as the year progresses. Saturday morning featured a walk through Hyannis—another fund-raising success story—and a picnic at the village green, complete with rock painting (thanks, Sheila!) and a relay race (who was that woman who took our team’s suitcase?).
Overall, the conference was noteworthy for the wonderful sense of camaraderie, and lovely scenes of old friends gathering and new friends meeting, as well as the tremendous wealth of information available from a variety of sources—from presenters to exhibitors to other attendees, both consumers and clinicians. It was my first Oley conference, and having been once, I’ll eagerly await my second.