Lean on Me, Lean on Us
Managing your health is hard at times. Add in a chronic illness or condition like diabetes, congestive heart failure, or cancer, and it can quickly feel overwhelming. When Eric Prawl faced a cancer diagnosis and needed help managing his pain and other cancer symptoms, he and his care partner Mechelle Prawl turned to Bayhealth’s Outpatient Palliative Care team. What they found was a trusted team they could lean on no matter their concerns or questions.
“Finding a listening ear and caring support through Bayhealth’s Outpatient Palliative Care has been of the utmost importance to me and, especially Eric, as it has afforded him a spirit of hope and encouragement,” said Mechelle.
Mechelle has been her brother Eric’s care partner since early 2020 when she had him come to Delaware for a second opinion on the stage 4 cancer diagnosis he had received in his home country of Jamaica. She’s the person Eric leans on for support.
Many people confuse palliative care with hospice care. But palliative care is when clinicians—including doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners—and patients and their care partners work together to brainstorm ideas on how to best meet the patient’s needs. In addition to this team effort, palliative care involves treating the patient’s mind, body and spirit to help quell their suffering and improve their quality of life regardless of the stage of illness.
For instance, to address symptoms that commonly occur with serious or chronic illnesses such as pain, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and fatigue, the palliative care team helps patients and their care partners set goals and then they work together to achieve them. While goals are set and plans are developed, nothing is so structured that it must be followed to a tee. Adapting plans as symptoms change and ensuring all involved can share their perspective while recognizing the importance of compromise are key components of palliative care.
The brother and sister duo said they’re grateful that Bayhealth’s Outpatient Palliative Care team has provided them with someone to turn to whenever they have any doubts or may not be on the exact same page. “Having the palliative care nurse practitioner Jessica always available for advice has been very helpful, and has resulted in a trusting relationship between us and the palliative care team,” Mechelle explained.
This trust means Eric, Mechelle and the care team are working toward and achieving common goals. It’s inspired Eric to complete tasks, like filling out the Five Wishes advance directive, even when it proved very difficult for him.
The Jamaican native said he’s happy to have his sister and a care team that are putting his needs first. “I’m happy and grateful to be receiving all the kind support from palliative care and oncology, which provides me comfort and a feeling of home away from home,” said Eric. “Palliative care is a godsend in times like these.”
If you or a loved one have a chronic illness or condition such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Congestive Heart Failure
- End-stage Kidney Disease
- End-stage Liver Disease
Bayhealth’s Outpatient Palliative Care team is here for you.