Annamarie Martin, 65, is a proud mom to Allie, and was an editor for professional financial newsletters and catalogs prior to her retirement. In her spare time, she enjoyed baking and cooking and especially sailing around Boston waters.
But, in recent years, her pace has slowed as her chronic kidney condition has advanced and dialysis has become the routine. Originally diagnosed at 19, her symptoms worsened when she was in her 40s. In 2019, her primary care physician (PCP) recommended Care Dimensions for palliative care. Palliative care offers a much-needed layer of assistance to patients and families that can reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits by better managing symptoms at home.
Palliative Care team supports and guides
Care Dimensions’ palliative care team of nurse Theresa Coughlin, nurse practitioner Sheryl Thompson, and social worker Sheila Curry collaborated with Annamarie and her PCP to develop a care plan to better manage her symptoms.
“Our job is to discuss the possible trajectory of a patient’s illness, to discuss ‘hope for the best and plan for the worst’ scenarios, and provide support and symptom management,” Coughlin says. “Palliative care is really the opportunity to discuss not just her palliative care goals but also her long-term goals of care and to begin talking about the transition to hospice when it’s needed.”
“We talk about the kind of palliative care and support she needs now and in months and even years from now,” says Curry, who helps Annamarie manage symptoms that affect the quality of her life. “What I love about palliative care is we focus on treatment while we care for our patients during their life-limiting illnesses. I’m right there to support Annamarie’s decisions as we go along.
“It was easy to start a conversation with her about her goals, the involvement of her family and how her disease progression would require more care. Annamarie is independent and mobile and takes good care of herself, but she’s also realistic about her life and continues to take an active part in planning her care.”
This summer, as Annamarie was thinking about her bucket-list goals, she asked her social worker if there was any way she could go for one last sail. Curry found Sailing Heals, a nonprofit that offers restorative sails free of charge for patients and caregivers navigating complicated illnesses. She was all smiles as she sailed in Salem Harbor aboard the Schooner Fame with her daughter. “I appreciate everything my Care Dimensions palliative care team has done for me and I’m grateful they are able to provide more support.”
After a hospital stay for congestive heart failure and rapid atrial fibrillation at the age of 91, Phyllis Kransberg of Beverly, MA, discovered that palliative care was just what she needed to help keep her out of the hospital and back on track.
Audias Escobar moved from Guatelmala to Boston to pursue his American Dream in 2005. With his health rapidly declining, he wanted to secure a bright future for his daughter. His Care Dimensions hospice team helped him make arrangements for his daughter's continued care and for a final trip home.Read more
Since 1978, Care Dimensions, formerly Hospice of the North Shore, has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in over 100 communities in Massachusetts.