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Palliative Care

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 2:20 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -For many, when they hear palliative care, they automatically link it with end of life and hospice, but being referred to palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the line.

Dr. Susan Tyler, the Medical Director of Palliative Care for Northern Light A.R. Gould says “I’ve had patients recently tell me, you know, in a joking fashion when they come in, ya know, you might be the death squad or the morphine police, things like that. And I know they’re all tongue and cheek when their said, but still there’s this underlying belief that when you call the palliative care doctor in, uh oh, that means something serious is going on.”

Dr. Tyler says patients often mistake palliative care for hospice care, not fully understanding the services palliative care provides. “We try to help people in all stages of their health journey and that means when people are very early diagnosed with an illness that is life limiting, in the middle or in the end. A lot of our referrals tend to come when our patients are very sick, so they may be near the end of their health care journey. " says Dr. Tyler.

Dr. Tyler adds people would get more out of palliative care if they considered it much earlier.

Dr. Tyler says, “There’s been studies that actually show the benefit of palliative care. It can improve quality of life, communication and even health care outcomes. But that means we need to see people sooner.”

She adds palliative care is for people of all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and needs and she hopes more will take advantage in the future.

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