Growing Demand for Palliative Care Programs

Growing Demand for Palliative Care Programs

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — You’re probably familiar with hospice care which focuses on end-of-life comfort treatment.

But there’s another type of care available when you leave the hospital and can still live with a serious illness. It’s called palliative care and it’s helping hundreds of people in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Eyewitness News reporter Mark Hiller visited a man in Scranton today to see how it’s benefiting him.

79-year-old Hal Marion was diagnosed last year with Pulmonary Fibrosis. It’s a chronic and progressive lung disease that interferes with his breathing.

“And you get so scared when you get this diagnosis,” Mr. Marion said. “This is the oxygen meter and they always want that over 90.”

His illness sent him to the hospital several times. He feared he might no longer be able to live at home until his daughter-in-law who works for Allied Services talked with him about palliative care.

“I couldn’t even spell it never mind pronounce it,” Mr. Marion said.

Allied Services provides palliative care throughout seven Northeastern Pennsylvania counties.

“A nurse practitioner or a physician who’s qualified under the palliative umbrella goes into the home and helps manage those symptoms and those exacerbations, tries to keep them out of the hospital.” Said Laura Marion, RN, BSN who is the Assistant Vice President of Allied Services Hospice & Palliative Programs.

Hal Marion says, “I’m going to have to sit down in here.”

Palliative care provides relief from the symptoms, pain and stress serious illness brings. Using it to fill the gap between primary care and the hospital has paid dividends for Mr. Marion.

“My nurse practitioner went in, identified that there were two specific medicines that she thought might be able to help him in emergencies. We instituted that into the home and he actually is doing better,” Laura Marion explained.

Palliative care has also helped Mr. Marion develop goals and strategies to cope with his condition.

“When you start moving, you’ve got to have a plan. You just can’t go from here and walk around the house four times. You’ve got to figure out where you’re going to sit and rest,” Mr. Marion said.

He can rest assured that palliative care is helping him live his best possible life.

“I don’t know what I would do without it. It does two things. It helps you physically, tremendously. It also helps you mentally,” Mr. Marion said.

Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any state of a serious illness.