Karen Fragale and Traci Stewart, Pulmonary Hypertension Association support group leaders of the Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Iowa Support Group, hosted a meeting on palliative care on June 8. At the meeting, Jen Krier, a palliative care nurse from Mercy Clinic in Iowa, offered insights to the group about palliative care, including how palliative care is different from hospice care.

A palliative care nurse works with the patient to address physical, emotional and spiritual needs that you have and helps address more complex care as an illness progresses, Jen told the group. Palliative care professionals would like to be included in the early days after diagnosis as individuals are being introduced and learning about their chronic illness.

“Some patients talked about how their experiences with palliative care are helping coordinate and get all the different doctors on one page and how they helped with all their medications,” Karen reports. Jen told the group that palliative care staff are a medical referral from your doctors. The first consultation is generally over an hour so these health care professionals can truly get to know you as an individual. “Attendees also were able to share and check in with each other, and everyone enjoyed lunch and seeing one another,” Karen said.

To learn more about support groups, visit PHAssociation.org/LocalSupportGroups.