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Palliative Matters

Author: Dr. John Mulder and Dr. Jason Beckrow

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Join Board Certified Palliative & Hospice Care physicians, Dr. John Mulder, Executive Director of Trillium Institute, and Dr. Jason Beckrow, Trillium Institute faculty, as they dive into the world of palliative care. Using real-life examples, they create an open dialogue to address issues of those facing a life-limiting illness and provide resources, tips, and tools for patients, their loved ones, and medical professionals to provide a higher quality end-of-life experience.
13 Episodes
When people hear the word hospice, it often brings about fear and anxiety. But when the interdisciplinary services and benefits hospice provides are explained, the reaction is usually much different. In this episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow discuss the importance of patients understanding what their diagnosis means and learning about strategies and resources that they can engage with to help manage their illness.
As a society, we have a tendency to avoid talking about death and dying. But as palliative and hospice care providers, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow are exposed regularly to the end-of-life journey. In this episode, they discuss how, as doctors, they help patients come to terms and make peace with their medical circumstances. They also help listeners better understand the dying process and the physical, emotional, and spiritual components they often witness.
When someone enters palliative or hospice care, a whole new set of tools and resources become available, including bereavement care for their loved ones. In this episode, the doctors discuss how we all have a duty to be present for those who are grieving and how bereavement services help people move toward healing in their own way.
While palliative care can have a profound impact on patients, it can also be transformational for their family, friends, or others who they are close with. In this episode, the doctors discuss the unexpected blessings that come along with treating patients with the resources that palliative care provides—including the healing, closure, and meaningful connections that they have witnessed.
Advance care planning involves discussing and preparing for future decisions about medical care, and, as the doctors explain, it is all about patient autonomy. What does a patient value? How do they define their quality of life? Where do they draw the line? In this episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow dive into the importance of having these conversations with your loved ones as early as possible, acknowledging that wants and wishes can change over time based on a patient’s circumstance, age, and illness. 
Healing vs. Curing

Healing vs. Curing


Can someone experience healing while not being cured of their disease? In this next episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow discuss the differences between being healed and being cured. In their experience, while someone may not be cured of their disease, they can experience healing in a variety of ways. They talk about cases that have taught them that they can’t always “fix” things and that managing and treating in meaningful ways doesn’t necessarily end with a cure.
A terminal prognosis forces people to face their mortality, which can lead to somepretty incredible events—core memories being made, long-broken relationships beingrepaired, final wishes being fulfilled. In this episode, the doctors share stories fromtheir careers that demonstrate some of the life-changing things people can experience under hospice care. Listen to witness yourself the healing power—emotionally, spiritually, or physically—that hospice can have. 
With palliative care being a relatively new field of medicine, there are still many misconceptions about what this specialty provides. While it is often associated with end-of-life, it has become much more expansive. In this episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow discuss the purpose of palliative care and how treatment plans focus on a patient's goals ultimately empowering them to make choices based on what is important and sacred to them.
What do we learn from our patients that make us better people and better doctors? In this episode, the doctors discuss patient circumstances and what these experiences have taught them. From learning to look for the gifts and miracles in even the direst of situations to making human connections to meet patients where they are, the doctors share real-life experiences that have helped shape who they are as doctors and as people.
Defining Hope

Defining Hope


The idea of hope is often idealistic and romanticized. For those facing a life-limiting illness, the “hope” of being cured or life returning to the way it was before a diagnosis can be discouraging. In this episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow explain how they can help people redefine hope by setting clear expectations and realistic goals for patients and their families. 
When most people think of suffering, they think of it in terms of physical pain, but suffering is a much more dynamic concept. When someone is facing a life-limiting illness, the fear of inability surrounding their situation can be agonizing. Existential crises in the form of financial stress, professional struggles, or familial relationships are common. In this episode, Dr. Mulder and Dr. Beckrow walk listeners through the concept of suffering and how they work to reinforce in a patient their value and worth.
When a patient is faced with a life-limiting illness, it is often assumed that they will take the most aggressive route of treatment, but that is not always the case. In this first episode of their podcast, Palliative Matters, doctors Mulder and Beckrow discuss the importance of exploring patients’ goals and values. How do they want to live as they negotiate their end of life journey? Listen and learn how to better give people a voice and a choice as they face their illness.
The Burden of Choices

The Burden of Choices


There is often this feeling that you need to make all of the “right” choices when you or a loved one is facing a serious illness. People might think that by taking the “right” steps, that their loved one can be saved. This is a great burden to have as oftentimes in these situations there is no clear “right” choice to make, no perfect path to follow. To learn more about decision-making during someone’s end-of-life journey, listen this next episode of the Palliative Matterspodcast.
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