Carmelite video views palliative care as standard of care for aged patients

March 15, 2018

The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm have created a video and website to promote its use of palliative care as standard practice in long-term care facilities in part by introducing the viewer to residents who have benefited from this type of care.

The 13-minute video, "The Difference is Love," includes commentary from palliative care representatives from the Carmelite Sisters and the Avila Institute of Gerontology. Sr. M. Peter Lillian DiMaria, O CARM, is director of the Avila Institute, the Germantown, N.Y.-based congregation's educational institute. She helped oversee the video's production. A camera crew spent three days filming interactions among staff, residents and family members at St. Patrick's Manor, a Carmelite System long-term care facility in Framingham, Mass.

Carmelite Video
In a still from "The Difference is Love" video, St. Patrick's Manor Nursing Supervisor Cindy Dion shares a laugh with resident Eleanor DiCori. St. Patrick's Manor is in Framingham, Mass.

The video emphasizes the importance of providing holistic care to long-term care facility residents and makes the case that palliative care is a vital component in caring for the mind, body and spirit.

Sr. DiMaria says some people equate palliative care with hospice care and mistakenly think that palliative care is only for people at the end of life. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, palliative care is specialized medical care for anyone living with serious illness, not just the terminally ill. This type of care aims to relieve the symptoms and stress associated with illness and improve the quality of life for both patients and their loved ones.

"The Difference is Love" makes the case that palliative care is essential to optimal care delivery for every resident in long-term care facilities.

The Carmelite Sisters sponsor, co-sponsor or serve at 20 long-term care facilities. Sr. DiMaria says to provide optimal, individualized palliative care, staff at these facilities learn about the needs, lives and personality of every new patient. This includes creating a biographical profile, conducting regular assessments of five domains of pain and developing palliative care plans to address any pain. The domains are physical, emotional, psychiatric, spiritual and family pain. Those domains were first identified by Dr. Michael Brescia, executive medical director of Calvary Hospital in Bronx, N.Y.

Only by seeking to understand the pain patients are experiencing in the context of their lives can long-term care facilities ensure residents are getting the best possible care, Sr. DiMaria says.

The Carmelite Sisters created an educational website in conjunction with the video's June release. The site,, provides resources on palliative care; videos that expand on concepts covered in "The Difference is Love"; and links to news about palliative care. "The Difference is Love" is posted on the website's home page.

"The Difference is Love" was nominated for a 2017 Suncoast Regional Emmy Award under the "Societal Concerns" category.



Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.