This is Whole Health: Dr. Janice Knebl
“A longtime patient of mine is in her 90s with a large family. When she initially came to me, she wanted to be sure that I would follow her wishes, as she had colon cancer, breast cancer and multiple skin cancers, and was very clear about not wanting to have aggressive treatments. She also had other chronic conditions. She had lost her husband many years ago.
“Within the past year, the patient developed significant shortness of breath and diffuse swelling of her legs, abdomen and arms. She was diagnosed with some cardiac issues. She was seen by a cardiologist and decided she did not want to pursue aggressive treatments. She was referred to hospice care in collaboration with house calls. I conducted a family conference in the home with the patient and all of her children, along with the hospice nurse and hospice social worker.
“The family conference topics included addressing the patient’s diagnosis, symptom management, prognosis, mood and spiritual needs. She has been unable to attend Sunday mass because of her illness. I contacted the priest at her parish, and he came to administer the Sacrament of the Sick for her. The priest is continuing to see the patient weekly to provide communion and support for her. The patient appreciated the focus on her mind, body and spirit and also her right to make her own decisions about her health.”
Dr. Janice Knebl, DO, MBA
HSC Chief Medical Officer
What areas of whole health are part of this story?
- Mental Health
- Environmental Health
- Physical Health
- Spiritual Health
To learn more about HSC’s Whole Health Initiative, go to unthsc.edu/wholehealth. If you have an example of how you have implemented one or more whole health areas and want to be featured in the “This is Whole Health” series, please email email@example.com.