LincolnHealth is pleased to welcome Lori Ann, palliative care nurse practitioner, to its program. She joins Robert Hunold, DO, Nelda McCellan, RN, Tom Wagers, Chaplain and Stephanie D. Field, LCSW on the palliative care team.
Palliative care, as Ann explained, is providing support to patients with chronic and complex health issues, with a focus on quality of life. People can continue to seek curative treatment if they wish and still receive palliative care.
“Medicine treats disease,’’ she said. “I learn the patient’s values, wishes and hopes and try to align their care with them.”
Ann started her career as a certified nurse’s aide in home health care in the Bangor area and 12 years later, she joined the MaineHealth organization as a CNA. In 2012, she graduated the University of Southern Maine with a bachelor of science in nursing and most recently, she earned a master of science in nursing, family nurse practitioner degree at Purdue University Global.
“My grandmother was a nurse’s aide who did hospice care,’’ she said. “She was really the driving force behind this.”
What makes Ann a good fit for palliative care is that her adult son has been battling complex health issues for most of his life. She has been with him every step of the way. “It was just a natural extension,’’ she said. “Not all people have the belief that values and wishes can be integrated with a care plan. That can be very empowering for the patient.”
Ann said that successful palliative care focuses less on the disease and more on the person. “If you can remember the patient – not the disease – than you’ve done your job,’’ she said.
There are a variety of ways that a patient can access services. Ann will visit patients in the hospital, nursing home, residential home or in their own home. Appointments may also be scheduled at the Watson Health Center.
To learn more about palliative care services, please call 563-4250.