Palliative Care and the Pandemic: A Conversation with Dr. Diane Meier
In today’s episode, Susan Ryan talks with Diane Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a national organization devoted to increasing access to quality health care in the U.S. for people living with serious illnesses. Under her leadership the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has tripled in the last 20 years.
The two discuss what Dr. Meier calls a “hyper-fragmented sub-specialization system” that often loses sight of the person in treatment, and how this observation became a catalyst for her in developing a palliative care program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and how palliative care programs have since scaled across the country.
Dr. Meier provides a wonderful definition of palliative care, along with the clear distinction between palliative care and hospice care and confronts the notion that suffering only deserves attention when someone is predictably at the very end of life. She is passionate in her quest to see the whole person and provide a plan that prioritizes quality of life and function for each individual, and how we must advocate for ourselves or a loved one to ensure that anyone with a serious illness gets the essential support.
Ryan and Meier also discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the critical necessity of palliative care, and how CAPC was able to provide tremendous support and resources to patients, families, and healthcare professionals through the crisis.
Connect with Dr. Meier here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianemeiermd
Find out more about CAPC here: https://www.capc.org/