In a new video, “Deadra’s Story”, released by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Moments of Life campaign, viewers get a glimpse at how much Deadra Gladden’s life has improved because of palliative care.
In May of 2014, Deadra Gladden 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 a consult with a nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, a palliative care team was brought in instead.
Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. 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 of 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.
The “Moments of Life” public awareness campaign, launched by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, features stories from hospices and palliative care programs across the United States of patients and families experiencing hospice and palliative care first hand.
“Palliative care is different from hospice in that it allows patients to receive aggressive and curative kinds of treatments while receiving palliative care, and they do not need a physician to certify that they have a life-expectancy of six months or less,” said NHPCO President and Chief Executive Officer J. Donald Schumacher. “Much of the palliative care provided in the United States is provided by hospice programs.”
For more information, visit the “Moments of Life” website at MomentsOfLife.org.
Watch “Deadra’s Story” below: