A Reassuring Presence
“I don’t know why you’re here or how you can help me.”
That’s what Arbor Palliative Care’s Nurse Practitioner Marie Heys, MS, FNP, BC, heard on her first visit with Lorraine.
“Most people think palliative care is hospice care,” Heys said. “While they both share the same goal in pain and symptom management, people don’t realize that palliative care can be received at any time during a serious illness. I told Lorraine that we could talk about anything she wanted, and that I was there to help her manage the symptoms of her heart failure.”
It took some time, but Lorraine came to understand what Arbor Palliative Care had to offer, and how they worked with her primary care physician and cardiologist.
“Initially, Lorraine hadn’t planned on her condition progressing,” Heys said. “By my second visit, Lorraine’s condition had worsened. She made it clear that she did not want any invasive procedures and did not want to go to the hospital. Lorraine said ‘I accept this; I know what’s going on.’ Yet, she had many questions.”
Heys spent time with Lorraine explaining her condition, the symptoms and how the disease would progress. During their conversation, Heys recognized Lorraine’s extreme exhaustion and recommended oxygen to Lorraine’s physician.
In order for Lorraine’s physician to agree to oxygen, Lorraine would need to schedule an appointment and take a test to ensure she was appropriate. Instead, Heys administered the test.
“I measured Lorraine’s pulse at rest, after she was moving about and then both ways with oxygen. There was substantial improvement with oxygen, and her physician agreed that oxygen could greatly improve Lorraine’s quality of life. Together, we ordered the oxygen and got it to Lorraine.”
Now, Lorraine has a way to combat her exhaustion to continue doing the things she loves – playing with her grandchildren, gardening and reading, and the continued support from Arbor Palliative Care.
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