Any time of the year can be a stressful time if someone you know—a family member or other close relative—is dealing with palliative care issues.
The specialized team at Bluewater Health, including Dr. Allison Crombeen, chief of Family Practice and medical director of CCC/Rehab/Palliative Care, are well aware of the potential challenges of navigating the holiday season for people who have an end-of-life diagnosis.
As Dr. Crombeen explained to Lambton Shield, our community is fortunate in that there is a strong base ready to respond at any time of the year, including the holiday season.
“If someone has a need, we have four palliative care physicians who provide 24/7 access through our Emergency Department or through our office at St. Joseph’s Hospice,” said Dr. Crombeen.
“We’re really speaking to the strengths of our palliative care service,” she said. “It’s fairly unusual that a community of this size would have such a strong service. We’re available around the clock, which is a significant strength.”
The palliative care service of Bluewater Health do require a referral, but that can come from a patient’s primary care provider, whether a physician or nurse practitioner or through St. Joseph’s Hospice. Pursuing that route for service would eliminate the need for a visit to the Emergency Department, Dr. Crombeen said.
Even so, it is not unusual for someone to be seeking help on pain management issues from the Emergency Department only to discover that there is an underlying potential end-of-life disease involved.
“We’re fortunate in that our Emergency Department professionals are very supportive of palliative care,” said Dr. Crombeen. “They are very quick to help oversee the symptom management issues while helping the patient with the access of other services such as oncology.”
Working collaboratively is key, she added.
“It’s really an example of our success, being able to treat a patient while also helping them with the best symptom management possible through palliative care. It’s about attending to every need they have.”
In addition, Dr. Crombeen said there is then a pathway for connecting a patient with other community-based services through the Local Health Integrated Network, including home-based nursing,