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Health Matters: Palliative Care, Preserving a Patient’s Quality of Life

“You can’t do this alone. You really can’t do it alone, not successfully.” Judy Farron has been a cancer survivor for two years.

After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, she thought her cancer journey was behind her. But when she started experiencing symptoms, her doctor told her, the cancer had come back. “I was really scared and anxious, and I think I’m going to use the word numb.” Judy decided to reach out to palliative care for support.

“Palliative medicine is a specialty in medicine that’s all about supporting patients and their families that are facing serious life-limiting illness. We get involved in any stage of an illness, whether it’s the very time of diagnosis or more towards the end of life to provide support,” said Dr. Jonathon Von Koenig, medical director of palliative care with Lee Health.

From nurse care coordinators, physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, and spiritual support staff, palliative care helps patients and their families deal with symptoms of fear, anxiety, depression, and pain. “When we fully engage with people and really explore everything they are dealing with, not just the medical aspect of it, it makes dealing with the medical aspect easier,” said Dr. Von Koenig.

Palliative care focuses on preserving a patient’s quality of life. “Carrying around that sad, depressed, scared feeling all the time is not only not good for your day-to-day life, but it’s certainly not good for your ability to heal,” said Judy. Helping patients better manage their diagnosis by treating the physical and emotional symptoms that can come with any illness.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/ Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit LeeHealth.org

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