Speaking of Health # 35 -- Palliative Care

Speaking of Health # 35 — Palliative Care

hello I'm Jason Holland and welcome to speaking of health a place to help you learn how to live a longer and healthier life imagine you or a loved one is faced with a serious or life-threatening illness you want to relieve the pain and improve your quality of life in some cases in the small amount of time that is left while traditional clinical medicine can't cure you of your illness palliative medicine can help you live your life better in the face of that illness our guest today on speaking of health are dr. corey ingram palliative care medical director from Mayo Clinic Health System and also assistant professor of palliative medicine at Mayo Clinic and also here to share her own personal story of a family members experience with palliative care is Linda Sandberg from Sherbourne thanks for joining us both on speaking of health thank you well a dr. Ingram first off could you start by explaining what palliative care is because a lot of people probably don't know what it is that's exactly right Jason thank you for asking and thanks for having this segment on palliative care I think your intro actually stated it quite well about if a loved one had a serious illness and imperative care we are a team of people who focuses on one thing and that is helping a patient and their family live well in the face of serious illness we tend to four main areas of their life their physical suffering social suffering emotional suffering and spiritual suffering and as a team we try and help them live as well as they can in the face of serious illness you know a lot of people have heard of Hospice I'm sure man but a lot haven't heard of palliative care what is the difference between the two Hospice Care was developed in the 1980s in this country to deliver palliative care to dying patients palliative medicine has really risen to the forefront in the last years as people are living with serious illnesses for a lot longer periods of time in palliative medicine is to delivering deliverance of palliative care for people who are living with a serious illness not necessarily dying and so we provide very similar services to hospice but we take care of patients who are recently diagnosed throughout the illness course some people are actually get better and we so we sometimes we care for people even as they are dying but a lot of people also at some point in time transition to receiving palliative care through hospice in the last few weeks of life as well well Linda if you could please share a little bit of the story of your sister and the experience that she and your family had with palliative care program at Mayo Clinic Health System my sister Vicki Rosenberg suffered from cancer ovarian cancer for about seven years I'd never heard of palliative care and in August this last year my sister was hospitalized in Mankato with the bowel obstruction and actually a bursting of the bowel and was very very ill and while we were there we were contacted by the palliative care team and asked if they would like us to come and visit with them and Vicki was so sick she could hardly even respond so she asked if I would sit in with her I had no idea what palliative care was so it was very interesting to me and I was just amazed by these people they come in as a team they're extremely caring loving and the four points that he talked about that they try to cover they're wonderful Vicki had been suffering from some conditions and they immediately because of their vast experience with people going through those types of situations said we need to do this this this and this for you and that aided her tremendously it took her out of a lot of pain a lot of the symptoms which would were causing her a lot of problems were remedied within one or two days and this was right before my sister's son was getting married a week before he was getting married and they had said all along we will get you to that wedding and I would never have dreamed they could have accomplished that call and they did and she looked gorgeous and it was in large part thanks to the love and care and support that they gave her and I understand that vicki was very passionate about palliative care even before she was diagnosed with cancer she was well aware what palliative care and what it does for people right yes she was I did not know that she work at the foundation for the madelia Hospital the director and as part of that she was looking for a grant to get palliative care into the madelia area and actually worked with someone from Mankato to get the grant that got this wonderful program into the area so when it ended up that she had was using their services she was just thrilled and that's why when I was asked if I would come and speak on this it's like yes because this was something that my sister was very passionate about and I know she's up in heaven going yes yes get it down to Fairmont get it everywhere else you can because it is such a wonderful program you know you talked about the palliative care team helping her with her symptoms but I would imagine there was many other things that the team helped with as well right yes I mean they were there for Vicki medically he said emotionally spiritually which was wonderful but they also met with the family first with my mom and dad and Vicki and I and I was amazed how intuitive they were to what my parents were going through what vicki was going through what we were going through and my dad had really struggled with Vicki's situation and it really helped him when he came out of that meeting he says wow they are wonderful and then later on they went with the whole family and we have a pretty good-sized family with Vicki sons and you know the rest of us and rather than having us all drive up to me and Cato they said you know what we'll come down to Sherbourne so they took their time and came down and met with us in Sherbourne and they're so patient you never felt like okay they were looking at their watch as I need to get going they would give us whatever time was needed and explained things so well and they did a great job with the topic that's very difficult her sons were very nervous about meeting with them and discussing this kind of taboo subject and it really helped Vicki to because it's some it's the kind of meeting that she wanted to have with her boys and her family and they helped have that discussion and make it easier for all of us yeah nobody knows how to deal with you a serious or life-threatening illness how do you deal with that and having experts there to help you and guide you along I would I would imagine would be very very helpful right yeah you just can't explain how much support that is to have them understand like I said what you're going through provide resources you know say this was probably what you're thinking oh yeah how do they know that and and I didn't want to say that in front of Vicki or Vicki didn't want to say some things in front of us but because of the support that they had Vicki could say some things that she wanted to say yeah it was just great for her like like you said because she wanted to have the conversations they're difficult she didn't know how to do it and with your guys's help it was great dr. Ingram can you talk a little bit more about your team what it consists of and and some of the things that you provide for patients and their families like Vicki's sure so I'm really glad you know I think this really is well allows us to showcase what we do and we have on our team a nurse nurse practitioner social worker chaplain we also have volunteers we would love to have healing arts practitioners in the future as well doing creative art therapy writing therapy music therapy and I think if you can envision being seriously ill if you can envision being in the hospital the hospital has barely been unable to control three main things that go on when you're hospitalized boredom isolation loneliness and so we also have a team of volunteers who come and help people who are in our hospital or at home or wherever they may be to lighten the load on their family as well as help that person in the midst of what they're dealing with recently we had a young lady who wanted to create a she want to do some hand work turned out she wanted to do latch Okrug volunteers went and got it they brought in the hospital they made her hospitalization better in the face of serious illness so our team is is broad and and trying to be all-encompassing well you know I've heard you refer to palliative care as a cloak and that's actually what palliative means right yeah that's the direct translation and I think if if we're really if we really look carefully at people who are seriously ill and their families I think one word that comes to mind for all of them is fragile the situation is fragile and very tender for all of them and what they need is somebody to cloak do to really embrace them as a whole helping helping them through the situation's they're in from home to hospital to you know Rochester and back really helping guide them through our system and help them live well in the face of serious illness and at this point the palliative care team for Mayo Clinic health systems region in southwest Minnesota is based out of Mankato but the goal is to spread the program to other sites including in Fairmont and some of the other locations right that's exactly right we're looking at at models of care so that we can have palliative care available to absolutely every patient within the Mayo Clinic Health System so anywhere in in this region of the Mayo Clinic Health System as well as our Wisconsin sites and the area around Rochester palliative medicine is clearly an initiative in which we feel so strongly about that we want every patient who is within distance of a Mayo Clinic Health System site to receive palliative care services and in Fairmont already there's been a good start to get that program going right that's exactly right the Cole family as you may have seen open their hearts I called it a gift truly of compassion they both have lived through a spouse dying being seriously ill being in Rochester being in their local community and they've experienced how some of the things we've talked about the loneliness the boredom just the sheer unawareness of how sick their loved one was and then the end of their loved one's life and they recognize the need for pound of care helping people who are living with these serious illnesses transition throughout the healthcare system and be well cared for the same so dr. Ingram tell me a little bit more about the patients that your team takes care of in palliative care I'd be glad to I think Vicki was a prime example a young mother wife with an advanced cancer we take care of people of all ages you know we take care of this year we've taken care of people in their 20s certainly there's specialized palliative care for children as well we don't see a great deal of those children in this area of the state they're usually taking care of in the cities so we do take care of people of all ages young and old and people we take care of they're living with a serious illness that affects their daily life you know often times it's hard to for them to can fulfill their regular daily activities it's hard for them to work we we try and help them get back to work it's hard for them you know just to complete the things that most of us frankly take for granted prior to that day in which we have a serious illness some people might experience as well that you know I actually tell people this I say you know we're kind of like a bad rash we keep coming back once you got us you're stuck with us my social worker has said well you know you might want to say we're like a tattoo it sounds about it but I think that's the experience of some patients and families because once you are caring for somebody that seriously ill the connection it's just natural it's it stays it's it's durable and I think your family experienced the same thing even when Vicki officially was in hospice care we were in Mankato but we weren't far away definitely most definitely well she was technically into the palliative care umbrella alone we would have issues my sister was very ill like I said and I'd call their team and say we need to get her this doctor and we can't get her in or we need this medication okay we'll take care of it and they did I can't even think of all the things that they helped us take care of once she transitioned into Hospice they didn't drop us they were still there and there were times that because of all the different medical professionals involved we had some concerns about her treatment and the way they had treated her was soul wonderful so I called the team hey can you help with this yep and they did no matter when they were there helping us my Vicky my sister passed away in October and I just got a call from Ellen from your team a couple weeks ago so the caring and and support doesn't stop yeah I think that's an important piece to mention you know if you think about people who are cared for with hospice care only about 30 percent of people that diet die with hospice care we take care of people who are dying in palliative care as well and we we also provide bereavement services going forward so for all those people that never provided professional bereavement services before they're now providing them through palliative care as well in addition to hospice care so people that never got into hospice for whatever reason are now also getting bereavement services through palliative care as well I can only imagine for the family that's got to be so reassuring to have that team behind you through this whole journey oh definitely I my sister my other sister and I really cared for my sister that died quite a bit in those last few months and we were just so thankful that we had them for a resource and continue to have them for a resource well unfortunately that's all the time we have I'd like to thank our guest today dr. Corey Ingram and Linda Sandburg for joining us today on speaking of how thank you both you thank you thank you and have a great day everyone and be healthy

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