LincolnHealth is pleased to welcome Lori Ann, a palliative care nurse practitioner, to its program. She joins Robert Hunold, registered nurse Nelda McCellan, chaplain Tom Wagers, and licensed clinical social worker Stephanie D. Field 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,’’ Ann 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 certified nursing assistant. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and most recently, she earned a master’s degree 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 – then 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, or residential home, or in their own home. Appointments may also be scheduled at the Watson Health Center.
To learn more about palliative care services, call 563-4250.