Long before it's time for hospice care, many people with serious illness can benefit from palliative care but don’t realize it. Sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” palliative care is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. Palliative care has helped Deadra Gladden get her life back through symptom management and support from Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, Marlton, N.J.
In May of 2014 Deadra, age 28, was in the hospital, feeling hopeless and in excruciating pain due to lupus, a disease she has been battling for over half her young life. Deadra's doctors told her family it was time to call hospice. But after consulting with a nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, a palliative care team was brought in instead.The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. It is also designed to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the patient's family.
Patients can continue to receive aggressive and curative kinds of treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and surgery while receiving palliative care.
Deadra receives regular visits from her palliative care doctor who monitors her symptoms and manages her care plan. Though she still requires physical therapy and dialysis, Deadra is able to take part in some of life’s most precious moments like spending time with her family, attending church and writing about the joys in life.
“ The gift we give in palliative care is having a good discussion about quality of life, ”
says Dr. Stephen Goldfine, chief medical officer at Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice. “I ask my patients ‘how do you define that (quality of life)-what makes you want to live?’ Once we develop that definition, then we can make decisions about what treatments are appropriate.”
With proper symptom management and emotional support from Samaritan, Deadra has gotten her life back. “Samaritan's palliative care gave me a second chance,” she says.