December 21, 2015

In Our Own Voice

In the cycle of commentary that follows mass shootings in the United States, calls for increased mental health services nearly always surface. It's hard to refute the need for supporting those with mental illness, and it's certainly easier than navigating the politics of gun control. Still, as the New York Times editorialized , less than five percent of gun homicides can be linked to people with diagnosed mental illness. That prominent voices in contemporary debates can associate mass violence with mental illness demonstrates how much stigma people with mental illness must endure. Unlike...
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January 22, 2015

The Face of Alzheimer's

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Ann W. Caldwell President's Lecture featured Greg O'Brien, a patient with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and his team of family and clinicians. After describing their perspective on caring for someone with dementia, the panel answered questions from the audience of second-year graduate students. The video captures the poignant, often funny, and sometimes sorrowful conversation. Because time did not allow the moderator to pose all the student questions, I have included them here in hopes of continuing the discussion. Questions for Greg : Symptoms What was...
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December 8, 2014

Voyage to Pluto

When Greg O'Brien started out as an investigative reporter, he would tell his sources they were going to "Pluto" when he wanted to have an off-the-record conversation. Now that he contends with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, Greg still finds the Pluto metaphor apt. The memory loss, cognitive decline, and anger can leave him feeling as isolated as the distant planet. Greg O'Brien will share his story with Institute students at the Ann W. Caldwell President's Lecture: Interprofessional Rounds on Thursday, January 15, 2015 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at Bunker Hill Community College. Greg O'Brien was...
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September 12, 2014

Dementia With Dignity

This year's Schwartz Center Educational Rounds will focus on caring for patients with dementia. The theme sprung from a common reading assignment given to all incoming entry-level graduate students as an introduction to the IMPACT Practice curriculum. Still Alice is a novel by Lisa Genova that recounts a first-person perspective of the diagnosis and treatment for early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. In discussing the book, students debated whether Alice lost her identity or became her true self when stripped of her memories and professional abilities. One student remarked, "I loved reading Still...
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April 9, 2014

Caring for a High-Profile Patient

During this year's Interprofessional Rounds, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor described how the media requested an interview during her stay at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Not all the survivors wanted to share their stories so publicly, but our speaker did. So, to accommodate both the media's interest and the patient's recovery, her occupational therapist decided to tailor that day's session about the activities necessary to prepare for an interview. It's unusual for a health professional to work with patients and clients who attract attention from beyond their circle of families and...
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March 10, 2014

Caring for the Perpetrators of Trauma

The Schwartz Center Educational Rounds highlight the human side of clinical care by focusing on how providers can sustain their compassion. Sometimes, though, a clinician can find it difficult to muster compassion for a patient. In the rounds on February 19, 2014, two students and an alumna described situations where they had to confront the limits of their ability to care. Chris Carter, PsyD , Director of Behavior Medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, moderated the discussion in which Leigh Pescatore (SON '13), Melissa Pedraza (DPT '15), and Peggy Lin (DPT '15) described cases from...
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January 21, 2014

Interprofessional Rounds: Healing Trauma

On Thursday, January 17, 2014, second-year students in the entry-level graduate programs gathered at Bunker Hill Community College for the Interprofessional Rounds. All year in the Schwartz Center Educational Rounds, students and faculty have been exploring the theme of healing trauma. As a capstone to this discussion, we invited Heather Abbott, a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings, and her team of caregivers from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to discuss the role of interprofessional practice in her recovery. Heather, pictured here with physical therapist Dara Casparian DPT '13...
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November 20, 2013

Compassionate Care

As a health-care lawyer and son of a physician, Ken Schwartz thought he understood how care delivery worked. When he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in 1994, however, he unexpectedly gained a new perspective--that of a patient. He underwent CT scans, a bronchoscopy, exploratory surgery, and chemotherapy. Ken quickly realized that effective health care goes beyond knowing which tests to order or which drugs to administer. As he wrote before his death, "What matters most is that they [the care givers] have empathized with me in a way that gives me hope and makes me feel like a human...
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