GetPalliativeCare.org's podcast, A Quality Life, tells the real-life stories of people living with a serious illness, and their families. Each episode explores how palliative care specialists have helped to manage the symptoms and stress of their serious illness, and improve quality of life
A Quality Life: How Palliative Care Helps the Patient and Family
Rae Anne, a cancer survivor and former palliative care patient, interviews Dr. Diane E. Meier, a palliative care doctor and director emerita of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. During their conversation, Rae Anne shares how palliative care helped her and her family. Together they discuss the benefits of palliative care, how the team takes care of the patient and caregivers, and more.
A Quality Life: Palliative Care Helps Families Living with Dementia Focus on Quality of Life
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are mostly known for memory loss that worsens over time, but it comes with a range of complex needs – for the person diagnosed and the family. And the health needs and safety concerns for all involved typically increase as the disease progresses.
Ann, a 92-year-old mother, grandmother, and former nurse, has been living with dementia for about 7 years. She also has COPD and heart problems. Ann has been able to stay in her own home with the help of her daughter Holly, care from home aides, and a palliative care team.
Holly and her family know firsthand that the palliative care team improves the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers by adding a layer of support.
This is Ann and Holly’s palliative care story.
One Woman’s Story of Surviving COVID-19 at Age 78
The COVID-19 virus is still circulating in the U.S. and millions of people are still testing positive. Thankfully, most who come down with COVID-19 don’t have to be hospitalized. Even so, for many the symptoms can be extensive and recovery can take weeks or months.
Listen to one woman’s COVID-19 experience, including the palliative care she received that helped keep her at home, and how she coped through six weeks with more than a dozen different and debilitating symptoms.
This is Bobye’s story.
A Quality Life: Joni's COPD and Palliative Care Story
Sixty-six year old Joni knows all too well that living with the lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – or COPD – can be stressful. The main symptom is shortness of breath, which worsens over time. The disease and treatments also cause coughing, wheezing, tremors, and emotional effects, such as anxiety and panic attacks, depression, and insomnia.
When Joni’s lung doctor of more than a dozen years referred her to a palliative care doctor, the goal was to address the worsening symptoms from the illness and its treatments, and help Joni live her life in the fullest way possible.
This is Joni’s palliative care story.
A Quality Life: Ilene’s Cancer and Palliative Care Story
As a speech language pathologist for young children, Ilene’s skills as an educator, careful listener and problem solver were keys to her career success. These factors also have played an important role for her through the many years she’s been treated for advanced ovarian cancer. It was a surprise diagnosis for the 68-year-old New Yorker that came in the fall of 2015 and changed her life dramatically.
She had a growing number of symptoms and side effects from treatments and surgery. When her cancer doctor referred Ilene to the palliative care team, Ilene didn’t know about the medical specialty. She had no idea how important it would be over the many years of her cancer journey, which included several recurrences. But ever-the-educator and problem solver, she went to the first appointment hoping for help to address many sources of discomfort.
This is Ilene’s palliative care story.
A Quality Life: A Young Mother’s Cancer Story
April grew up with hairdressers in her family. As a kid she put curlers in her cat’s fur to practice. She eventually realized her dream and even took ownership of her own salon. In June 2018, a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and 30 rounds of radiation, forced April to have to stop working.
This is a story about fighting to get back to the people and things you love. This is a story about embracing help. This is April’s Palliative Care Story.