Regence Palliative Care: A love story and health care journey

By Regence
April 20, 2018

The following is a story of two members our Regence case managers helped. Their names have been changed to respect their privacy.

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day for the week of April 16-20, 2018, it’s important for families to feel empowered around advance care planning. 

Dealing with a serious illness is uncharted and difficult territory for most patients and families. Whether caring for a loved one of any age, struggling with financial or care decisions, or trying to organize services, it's a road you don't have to walk alone.

Bernice, Leonard’s wife, was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. Leonard called Regence and requested assistance from palliative care case management. As the director of palliative care at a local university, he understood how crucial palliative care was to his wife’s quality of life—and to him and their children.

He asked, “Do you have a program that allows us to coordinate my wife’s care in a home setting?” The answer was, “Yes, we do.” He told us that he wanted to enjoy his remaining time with his wife, and not worry about who would take care of her.

“We will take care of the details; you just focus on your time with her,” their case manager said.

“Do you have a program that allows us to coordinate my wife’s care in a home setting?”

Regence took care of all the complex details in coordinating a unique combination of home hospice and palliative care.

A few weeks later, Bernice called: Leonard had also been diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. “You’ve been such a relief and help caring for me,” she said. “Would you be willing to care for my husband, too?”

A few months later, Regence heard from Leonard and Bernice’s children. They expressed their deep gratitude for helping make their parents’ last days comfortable and worry-free.

Leonard and Bernice already had had numerous conversations with their family, and their goals of care were documented with their physician. You don’t have to be seriously ill to begin the conversation with the people who care about you; talking about your goals and wishes takes the guesswork and guilt away from anyone acting on your behalf. Regence recommends the resources provided by The Conversation Project, which has starter kits that guide you through having advance care planning discussions with your caregivers, family and friends.

To learn more about Regence’s approach to palliative care, please visit our Personalized Care Support page