January 23, 2021 | By Mieko Hester-Perez
When my son Joey entered palliative care second to his autism spectrum disorder with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I had no idea I was preparing for another unexpected “life calling”. I was introduced to a prominent palliative care medical director; at the time, my initial thoughts were to seek guidance in this new phase with my son’s healthcare. I was unaware that this person was another assigned “guardian angel” for our next chapter. Ready to beat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy the same way, I challenged autism, I was ready take on more sleepless nights searching for answers as I did in 2009 when my own conservative views on cannabis would forever change once I saw my son smile.
After receiving credentials in Brain Health, Legal & Ethical Issues in Healthcare, and Pain Assessment and Management, it gave life to a new tier of important roles for healthcare institutions and licensed dispensaries.
I had begun, supporting medical teams several years ago and their patients via HIPPA compliant confidential consults reaching well over 700 consumer navigation plans. The primary goal was to provide consumer-centered outcomes to promote healthy conversations with medical professionals.
The criteria for autism and palliative care consumers were remarkably similar especially when I scheduled consults on the same day. Here we go,
Autism symptoms: irritability, non-verbal or inability to articulate pain or discomfort, Insomnia, self-injurious, no sense of awareness and violent outburst.
Palliative care consumers: irritability, non-verbal or inability to articulate pain or discomfort, Insomnia, self-injurious, no sense of awareness and violent outburst.
Case and point, a non-verbal adult on the spectrum who cannot communicate, that they are hungry are just as irritated as an adult in palliative care yelling at a nurse to be turned over.
What is evident with both scenarios is, cannabis therapies will allow for these types of “indicators” to be managed.
Through a cannabis professional consult with sensible outcomes and expectations a practical “navigation plan” can be coordinated for consumers and their caregivers. The navigation plan should include product information along with dosing, frequency, and a record of any indication of possible side effects to help you gage your experience.
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