The International Headache Society and European Headache Federation joined forces for the 20th International Headache Congress (IHC). The event from 8-12 September 2021 was the first fully digital International headache congress. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the globe, the original plan of a face-to-face meeting in Berlin, Germany, was reformatted to an entirely virtual congress. With its central theme, Headache Science to optimise patient care, the event was attended by almost 2000 delegates from over 90 countries. The five-day event was filled by a truly diverse program, including a session hosted by the International Forum of Headache Nurses (IFHN) on September 9, 2022. The session expertly hosted by Jennifer Trouerbach-Kraan from Leiden, Netherlands, was attended by 257 live participants.
The first speaker was Ms Maureen Moriarty, the Malek School of Nursing Professions director in Arlington, Virginia. Ms Moriarty’s talk was focused on the training for nurses caring for people with headaches called the BRIDGE program. The BRIDGE program, established in 2012, is a comprehensive headache education program designed for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in primary care in America sponsored by the American Headache Society. She went through BRIDGE’s journey from its inception to its delivery to approximately 500-600 providers. It was followed by a talk by Malene Kjærgaard Danoe, a headache nurse specialist at the Danish Headache Centre, Glostrup, Denmark. Ms Danoe presented her work on how the patient’s perception of illness evolves during treatment with CGRP antibodies. She presented her findings relevant to today’s practice with the dawn of the CGRP monoclonal antibody treatments for migraine.
The last topic of the IFHN session was about Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) and the introduction of detox presented by Syta Vissers, headache nurse from The Headache Centre, Haarlem, Netherlands. Syta Vissers started her talk by discussing medication overuse headaches, including its definition, clinical presentation, and most effective treatment – the withdrawal of medication being overused or “detox”. She then enumerated the importance and rationale of analgesia withdrawal or detox. In particular, she discussed the “detox” advice they implement in the Netherlands and how they support their patient during “detox”. They have been using the Detox Mobile app, a new electronic tool that gives the patient more confidence and the possibility to connect with fellow patients should they wish in the future. This electronic app is still exclusive and available only for the patients attending their headache centre.
It was a very successful and highly interactive session with questions asked live, albeit digitally. Jennifer masterfully chaired the session and moderated the question-and-answer part exceptionally well. She ended the session by thanking the speakers and attendees, but most especially the congress board, who generously agreed that members of IFHN could attend this session as a stand-alone course, free of charge, without the need to subscribe or register for the entire congress.
Unfortunately, the first few moments of the recording are without audio due to technical difficulties.