November is National Palliative Care Month. Palliative Care is specialized medical care that addresses the pain and anxiety of a complex illness, especially for patients living with Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Cancer, or other chronic illnesses that can cause distressing symptoms.
In the words of a Palliative Care Patient, NB,
“Kathy has been a tremendous help in terms of my care. I have a rare neuromuscular disease and while neurologists were focused on trying to prevent progression, my quality of life was really poor. When Kathy came to me, her sole focus was on my quality of life. She was able to prescribe additional medications for me, based on my decreased functioning, balance issues, sleep disturbances, narcoleptic episodes, pain and other issues. Without her help I don’t think I would have been able to continue working from home, because I was falling asleep on the job. I was having insomnia or only sleeping 3 hours at night. My spasms were much more severe. I still can only walk short distances, but those distances are longer now than they used to be. I fall less than I used to. So her intervention has really been critical. If wasn’t for Kathy, I don’t think I would be as functional. I would definitely have sustained more injuries, as I had prior to seeing Kathy.
An example of quality of life – On a follow up appointment one day, Kathy asked me about my pain levels. When I reported a high pain level, she was surprised and asked why it was so high? I explained that the arthritis through my neck and back still cause pain and I don’t take pain meds. I can’t even turn my neck to do a “head check” in the car when changing lanes. I just have to put on my blinker and “pray that no one’s there”. And so, Kathy put me on a simple non-narcotic arthritis medication. It’s the first time in 20 years that I have been pain free in my neck! She was shocked that between spine specialists, surgeons, neurologists, rheumatologists, etc., no one had addressed my arthritis pain long-term, even though they confirmed arthritis existed in MRI’s. (I can do “head checks” now when driving!)
My disease is always attacking my body in different and unpredictable ways. While my specialists can only see me every few months, Kathy is much more available and reachable. She will do her very best to research and determine what might help, as my needs frequently change. Kathy has really just “rolled with it” and helped me as much as she possibly can. I’m very satisfied with her quality of care and her compassion. She has really been a godsend and the only practitioner in my “care team” that truly focuses on my quality of life.”
Kathy Boyd, MSN, FNP-BC
Recognizing the importance of providing this specialized care for our patients, we launched our Palliative Care program in 2014.
Thanks to the program’s growth and success, our team now includes Palliative Care Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Kunkemueller, Nurse Practitioners, Christine Dumont, Kathy Boyd, Alexa Gordon and Hayley Bustos, Certified Palliative Care RNs, Mitch Maihiot and Allie Moriarty, and Office Support Nurse, Deb Doyon.
If you or a loved one are in need of palliative care services or in learning more about palliative care, please give us a call at 603-332-1133. Our knowledgeable staff members are always here for you to offer guidance and support.