Bright. Vivacious. Compassionate. Sally is all of this and more.
She also has rheumatoid arthritis, which has slowly been deteriorating her body. Since her diagnosis, Sally has needed numerous surgeries to replace joints, her shoulder and address back issues. The pain caused by her condition was largely uncontrolled.
Then, Empath Health found a way into her life. A social worker had spoken about Community-Based Palliative Care to a support group Sally is a member of. The uncontrolled pain of a chronic illness meant Sally was eligible for the pain management program.
She talked with her primary care internist and secured a referral to the program. Just over two years later, she has much more control over the pain.
“To me, Empath Health has been lifesaving,” says Sally. “They have come to my aid like the cavalry.”
Initially, a nurse practitioner and palliative care physician met with Sally frequently to diligently review her medications. She would keep a log of what she took, when she took it and how it made her feel. Their goal was to better manage Sally’s pain and lower the dose of medications she takes. Together with her rheumatologist, Sally and her pain management team developed a plan of care tailored to her needs. Under this guidance, she has been able to make significant progress.
While Sally still sees her nurse practitioner regularly, she visits with her palliative care physician every couple of months. Lately, because of COVID-19, they have transitioned to virtual telehealth visits. It was a new experience for Sally, but the palliative care office walked her through set up step-by-step until she was able to connect with her physician.
“The Empath team always spends time and tremendous effort to ensure everything is the best it can be,” says Sally.
The dedication shown by her team extends well beyond her regular appointments.
Last December, she was scheduled to undergo surgery for a spinal cord stimulator, which is often considered a last resort for addressing pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Sally’s plan quickly changed when she suddenly got sick. Not only had she developed an issue with her gall bladder, but it was discovered that she also had pneumonia.
This prompted her to seek out a new primary care provider. In the interim, Sally knew she could rely on the Empath Health team to help keep her moving should something arise.
“They are always easy to talk to and have a broad range of knowledge,” she adds. “I truly feel I can call Empath Health any time and will get a sound-minded answer.”
Learn more about how our Community-Based Palliative Care program can help you or a loved one improve their quality of life through our specialized care and support.