Providing Comfort and Support
When 81-year-old Michael Smith was discharged from the hospital for the second time in one month, he knew he wasn't going home. His wife suffered from her own physical ailments and she couldn't provide the care he needed. Instead, Mr. Smith was admitted to a local rehabilitation facility where he could receive the intense care he needed - with the help of Arbor Palliative Care.
"I was 45 minutes away from the facility, and needed to be sure my husband was comfortable," said Mrs. Smith. "I called Arbor Palliative Care and asked them to visit my husband to ensure his symptoms were being managed. I know how difficult the transition from a hospital can be, and I didn't want him to have to go back."
Mrs. Smith explained that her husband experienced a significant decline after each hospitalization. It was less than one month ago that he could walk on a treadmill three days per week. Now, he was only able to stand for a few minutes or take a couple of steps on his own without losing his breath.
"Mr. Smith had been hospitalized because of the worsening of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia and recently diagnosed lung cancer," said Danielle, MSN, FNP, Arbor Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. "He was extremely short of breath and experienced dramatic coughing episodes. His health was declining and he needed help."
Danielle visited Mr. Smith at the rehabilitation facility and spent time learning about Mr. Smith, educating the family and facility about his disease progression and how to enhance his comfort. She worked through Mr. Smith's physician to implement changes to Mr. Smith's regimen keeping him comfortable and out of the hospital.
In addition, Danielle spent time with Mr. and Mrs. Smith to ensure they understood the severity of Mr. Smith's disease. They identified that their primary concern was Mr. Smith's comfort. Together, Danielle and the Smith's came to an understanding that staying in the facility would be the best way to ensure Mr. Smith's comfort, where he was surrounded by many compassionate caregivers.
"Mr. Smith died soon after," said Danielle. "But, he died comfortably because of the supportive teamwork from the Smiths, the facility staff, Mr. Smith's physician and Arbor Palliative Care. Making a difference, one family at a time. That's what we're all about."