Can Palliative Care Benefit You?
Questions to consider
- Do you have one or more serious illnesses?
- such as cancer, heart failure, liver failure, COPD, dementia, or neurological disorder
- Do you experience symptoms that impact your quality of life?
- such as pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, nausea, constipation, or lack of appetite
- Have you experienced difficult side effects from treatment?
- Have you had frequent emergency room visits or hospitalizations?
Illness Types and Symptoms
Palliative care can help adults and children suffering from illnesses such as:
Tim Nicaise, NP, views Palliative Care as a 'lighthouse in a storm'
By: Karol Perczak
Tim Nicaise, NP, Palliative Care, at Beaumont, Trenton, generally goes through his day with a sunny disposition, which is remarkable when his job often has him discussing challenging subjects. While his job can be an emotional roller coaster, for Tim
it gives him plenty of reasons to feel grateful.
Since earning his bachelor’s in nursing at 22 years old, he has spent the past 12 years working in a variety of nursing specialties, including case management, clinical education and oncology. He went back to school to become a nurse practitioner,
graduating in 2015, and was drawn to palliative care.
“I worked in Oncology for two years at another health system, and I saw that patients were not given many options beyond active treatment,” Tim said. “Palliative care is like a lighthouse in a storm for patients and families, helping
them maintain the best quality of life possible with chronic illness.”
Tim says palliative care is a branch of medicine providing an extra layer of support for people managing life with a chronic illness. He rounds with leaders and case managers, typically getting his cases from Critical Care.
He often works with patients who have diagnoses of conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, dementia and cancer. “We work on things like goal setting, symptom management and patient education, so they can
make informed decisions,” said Tim.
At times, he has difficult but truthful conversations with patients and families about end-of-life options, including Do Not Resuscitate orders. He says it is important to be there to show presence for patients, giving them his mobile number in case they
need to reach him during off-hours.
“My job is a lot of dialogue about how the patient feels and what they want,” said Tim. “Watching their stages of grief is hard. It is a humbling position to be in.”
He says he avoids burnout by leaving his work at the door as much as possible at the end of the day. He most enjoys spending time with his wife, Eden, and his 1-year-old son, Gus. “I try to surround myself with happy things,” said Tim. “I
like to cook and read and I love watching comedy.”
He advocates for his profession by serving on multiple committees, and he feels a sense of pride each time he receives a heartfelt thank you from a patient or family member.
“I am always open to being job-shadowed,” said Tim. “I know that what I do makes a difference for our patients, and that makes my job gratifying. I find a new passion for it every day.”