The term Hospice Care is widely known but many times people shrug their shoulders when asked about Palliative Care. Jill Hunter, APRN, ACHPN has recently joined Pemi-Baker Community Health (PBCH) as their Nurse Practitioner in Palliative and Hospice Care. PBCH is thrilled to have her join their mission to educate Central and Northern NH about Palliative Care and how a Palliative team can help families facing serious illnesses.
Jill Hunter has been a nurse practitioner for 23 years working in primary care, both family practice and internal medicine for the Indian Health Service in New Mexico, Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic and Concord Hospital. Most recently she has focused on palliative care, after becoming very involved with a particular patient in his late 40s, just diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). “I remained his PCP throughout his illness, managing his symptoms, coordinating with his specialists and educating his family. I celebrated his triumphs and supported him through disappointments. I eventually helped him to transition to hospice care 3 years after his initial diagnosis and remained involved in his care until he died. He taught me a lot about caring for seriously ill patients and their families. I feel that experience sparked a passion within me to become a palliative care provider,” said Hunter.
One of the biggest misunderstandings people have is thinking Palliative Care is the same as Hospice Care. Although it is a part of Hospice Care, Palliative care is specialized medical care for anyone living with a serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of the illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. Pemi-Baker’s specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support focusing on providing relief from pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, shortness of breath and other stressors of the illness.
“Most of my experiences in palliative care have been in the hospital setting. Unfortunately, the patients I see are often far along in their journey with serious illness and could have benefited from symptom management and goals of care discussions much earlier. I think that there is a growing trend of trying to introduce palliative care earlier and one of the best ways to do so is in the home—meeting patients where they are and most often where they want to remain. Working with Pemi-Baker Community Health is going to allow me to do just that,” said Hunter.
With over 50 years of experience, serving clients from 28 towns in central and northern New Hampshire, Pemi-Baker Community Health is committed to creating healthier communities. Palliative Care Services are just one of the home health services available to you through PBCH. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about getting palliative care and also encourage you to call PBCH with questions. PBCH is located at 101 Boulder Point Drive, Plymouth, NH. To contact us please call: 603-536-2232 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our website: www.pbhha.org and like our Facebook Page: @PBCH4
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~written by Anna Swanson