Avera Medical Minute: Cancer Survivor Shares How Palliative Care Helped Navigate Challenges

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:28 PM CST
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YANKTON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - One of the keys to living well with a serious illness is palliative care.

Palliative care is available anytime during an illness and aims to help control symptoms, reduce stress, find comfort and improve quality of life.

When Albert Fernandez started his cancer journey he wasn’t aware that palliative care was an option.

He quickly learned just how beneficial this type of care could be.

“There are times when you’re going through a journey like I went through with cancer, there are times you do get depressed,” he said. “They did so much for me on the mental side, even just counseling, just talking about how I feel, very helpful.”

Avera’s multidisciplinary palliative team includes board-certified physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.

“So when you’re talking about palliative care, it is truly care for the whole person. So our care is tailored to mind, body, and spirit,” said Katie Huff, an Avera nurse practitioner with the Palliative Medicine Team at Avera Medical Group in Yankton.

Each team member brings their own level of expertise to meet all of the needs of a patient.

“Managing of the physical symptoms, emotional support, spiritual support and then also be helped to define what’s most important to them, and how we can carry that over into the medical care,” said Huff.

Albert’s experience with palliative care is something he says was invaluable as he continues to navigate the bumps in the road and complications that come from the treatment of his metastatic lung cancer.

“I just don’t think many people know about it, so if I can help people understand how beneficial it is and then they can try it themselves,” he said.

More information on palliative care can be found at www.Avera.org/MedicalMinute