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Palliative Care Proves Beneficial for Shorewood Family Dealing with Serious Illness
New Lenox, IL (Nov. 21, 2019) — A year ago October, Don Budd of Shorewood was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Without warning, he and his wife Tania were faced with serious decisions about his medical care and how his illness would impact their family. His life quickly became a blur of doctor visits for cancer treatment, surgery and chemotherapy.
“My family was under so much stress,” Don, 46, explains. “We were struggling to come to terms with my diagnosis. I was very ill from chemotherapy, and my wife was taking on a lot by being a caretaker, a parent to our kids and working her job as a nurse. We just didn’t know where to turn for help.”
Don’s wife of 23 years, Tania, 45, is a nurse at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Even with her expansive healthcare knowledge, they struggled to find support for their family and proper pain management for Don. Tania finally discussed her concerns with Silver Cross Palliative Care Advanced Practice Nurse Fran Flynn, R.N., B.C.-C.N.S., who oversees the inpatient palliative care team at Silver Cross Hospital. Since Don wasn’t receiving inpatient care, Flynn guided her to an community-based palliative care program available through Joliet Area Community Hospice.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. Services are provided by highly trained doctors, nurses and specialists with the goal of improving the quality of life for the patient and their family.
Palliative care is appropriate at any age and stage of a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. It addresses pain management, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. Palliative care team members communicate regularly with the patient’s doctors and other healthcare workers who are providing care or therapy.
“Palliative care has been so helpful to my family and has given us hope. Don is finally getting the home nursing and pain management care needed,” Tania said. “The social worker assigned to our case has guided us to places that can give us the emotional support our family needs. We have a son and daughter, ages 21 and 24 years old, and we are concerned with how they are handling their father’s illness – the palliative care team has gone above and beyond to find them the support they need.”
Every year, nearly 1.6 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospice and palliative care providers, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Common diagnoses include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, kidney disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and more. Best of all, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that patients with a serious illness, who received palliative care, lived longer than those who did not receive this care.
Palliative care benefits people who may be experiencing declines in their health, are unable to manage the daily tasks of living alone, experience intense pain on a day-to-day basis, have frequent hospital admissions or have had a prolonged length of stay in the hospital without any sign of progress.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Silver Cross Hospital would like to raise awareness to the importance of these services and for those people coping with life-limiting illnesses. It is helpful to note that palliative care is different than hospice care. While both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort, palliative care can begin at diagnosis of a serious illness and continue through active treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease has stopped.
Palliative Care Offers Choices to Those with Serious Illness
Don said palliative care has given him the confidence to be an advocate for his own healthcare and make his own choices. An arborist by trade, Don owns a tree service company and was able to work throughout his busy season this year – doing something he loves.
“If it weren’t for the nursing and pain management services I received through palliative care, I wouldn’t have been able to do the job I love. The amazing support I have received from my healthcare team has made me realize I don’t have an expiration date. I accept that the cancer will end my life at some point. I just want to be as comfortable as I can be, doing the things I love – palliative care is giving me that chance,” said Don.
Don and Tania spent this past summer taking trips in their camper to state parks in the Midwest. In fact, he’s feeling so good he and Tania are planning a long drive to the Florida Keys.
“There’s one more thing I would like to do if it’s possible – renew my wedding vows with my wife in Las Vegas,” said Budd.
For more information, visit silvercross.org or for outpatient palliative care, visit joliethospice.org
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is an independent, not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Truven Health/IBM Watson 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years, received a 5-Star rating for high quality and patient satisfaction by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Grade by The Leapfrog Group. With over 4,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 302-bed acute care hospital and 5 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital in 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. In 2017, Silver Cross provided over $39 million in charity care and other community benefits. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org. Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.
About Joliet Care Community Hospice
Joliet Area Community Hospice (JACH) is a not-for-profit, community-based, state licensed and Medicare/Medicaid certified agency serving Will, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Livingston and increasing portions of Cook, DuPage, and Kankakee Counties. JACH provides quality hospice and palliative care for adults and children diagnosed with life-limiting and/or terminal illnesses. JACH is one of a handful of Illinois hospices with a dedicated Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care Team for seriously ill children from birth to 21 years old. The 16-bed Hospice Home inpatient unit in Joliet provides care for adults and children with symptoms that cannot be managed at home and short-term respite for hospice patients whose caregivers need time away from caregiving. Since JACH’s opening in 1982, over 32,000 people have received the quality care that JACH is known for. The mission of Joliet Area Community Hospice is: Real People. Real Care. Your Family. Real knowledgeable, professional, compassionate people providing real quality care to you and your family. For more information about
Community-based palliative care, please visit lightways.org or call 1-800-360-1817.