CHI St. Alexius supportive care clinic helps patients manage illness

Last Fall CHI St. Alexius opened a Supportive Care Clinic specializing in palliative medicine. That's specific care for those with serious medical conditions, sometimes terminal. It focuses on finding the right type of care for patients and their families. Manage is the primary concern. Meet Celeste Berger. She's survived cancer twice with a smile on her face, but it hasn't been easy.

"I didn't think I'd make it, but I try to keep positive. One day at a time," said Celeste Berger, supportive care patient. Last year she was so ill she couldn't walk. In addition to her cancer treatments, she was referred to the Supportive Care Clinic at CHI. Their practice involves more than just medicine.

"Several times they called just to check to see how I was doing. And I think I'm doing fine. In fact I'm doing real good," said Berger. At the clinic they practice palliative medicine or specific care patients can adapt to their limitations and lead a normal life.

"Some people don't even have family support so they need a lot more emotional support. Or they don't have family to help care for them at home, so we need to try to connect with different community resources," said nurse practitioner Trina Kaiser.

For Celeste that means getting back to baking. She made 12 trays of cookies for law enforcement just before Christmas.

"Those poor law men, they were working so hard at the time with the protesting."

It also means living independently.

"I'm still in own my own home and do my own laundry and house cleaning and I keep busy," said Berger. And now she can get herself to and from her doctor’s appointments without any help. CHI St. Alexius stresses the fact that palliative medicine is not the same as hospice treatment and focuses on helping patients get back to their normal lives.

Bo Evans Reporting