Sam’s Story: Patient Support through Palliative Care


[MUSIC PLAYING] DR. TWADDLE: One of the most
powerful teachers for me– one of my patients– of the
benefits of this type of care– I’ll use the name
Sam to describe him. So Sam, in his late
80s, got diagnosed with pulmonary
fibrosis, which is a progressive pulmonary
condition causing shortness of breath and eventually,
over a period of years, leading to death. He had a very progressive
pulmonary physician who asked him to have
a palliative care consultation shortly after
he was diagnosed, so we met. At that stage, Sam had
very few limitations related to his diagnosis. He was still playing
golf, albeit using a cart, not walking. He hadn’t had to modify a lot. Over the course of
three and a half years, I saw Sam initially
in the office. Helping him with
symptoms, explaining what this disease means,
what the diagnosis means, how to anticipate what
he would need to have in place. Exploring with him what
is meaningful care. What does it look
like for you, Sam? Who do you care about the most? How do we know that we’re
doing the best for you? At one point Sam’s
disease really had changed his
functional status and he needed to
be seen at home. So care transitioned
to the home setting and I started to see him there. And within a matter of months
he entered hospice care. Interestingly he lived in
hospice care for 14 months. He surprised me in
a delightful way. And throughout that, over
the four and a half years that I cared for Sam
with his diagnosis, he was never hospitalized. He never went to
the emergency room. He never had symptoms
that got out of control. He always knew what
he needed to do, and always knew who
he needed to call. And his family was supported
through that time as well. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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