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      Medical professionals learn about palliative care

      Lacy Gregg, R.N. gives her presentation.
      Over 100 medical professionals from all across the U.P. have been learning about palliative care in Marquette these past two days. The inaugural Upper Great Lakes Palliative Care and Hospice Conference wrapped up Thursday.

      Palliative care is a means of comforting those diagnosed with chronic illnesses that are still far from hospice or end-of-life care. Palliative care can last years to help patients cope with a major life-changing illness or injury.

      "Things can start to feel very overwhelming, and palliative care can really address many of those issues," said Carol Carr, CEO of Lake Superior Hospice.

      The Upper Great Lakes Palliative Care and Hospice Conference allowed medical professionals to break out into groups and learn the finer points of palliative care. Register nurse, Lacy Gregg, says that proper palliative care goes beyond the patient and into the whole family.

      "If you can sit down and really understand what's important to this family and this patient...what are they not saying? And how can we actually focus on those values, identify goals, and then use medicine to help us achieve those goals...So it's really not about what can we do in medicine, it's about what should we do," said Gregg, of the Marquette General Hospital ICU and Valley Med Flight.

      Among the attendees were several Northern Michigan University nursing students who say the conference has been a valuable experience.

      "Palliative care, when you implement it in the beginning of the disease, the way it should be implemented, then you encompass the whole family as part of the team, and they feel more empowered because they get to make decisions and choices, and they have more education," said NMU nursing student, Kaycee Langston.

      Lake Superior Hospice in Marquette organized the conference and hope to make it an annual event.