Transitioning from pediatric to adult care can feel monumental and overwhelming. Finding new doctors, establishing rapport and trust, and taking control of your health care decisions while approaching adulthood is daunting. Moreover, “adulting” with Duchenne and Becker requires more than physical care. It’s about finding ways to live your best life. We tip our hat to Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Dr. Lauren Treat who is focused on the big picture.
Dr. Treat is dual certified in Neurology and Palliative Medicine, which focuses on quality of life for individuals living with medical conditions. When asked why she pursued certification in Palliative Medicine after completion of training for neurology, Dr.Treat stated “I realized that so many of our patients were getting support for their physical body but medicine was failing to address the experience of being a person living in a complicated body. I wanted to change that.” And so she did. Dr. Treat established a Quality of Life Clinic in collaboration with Children’s Colorado’s Certified Duchenne Care Center (CDCC).
Every individual with Duchenne & Becker seen in the CDCC is referred to the Quality of Life clinic when they turn 18 years of age. As the clinic has become more established, many more individuals are being referred at an even earlier age. The goal of this clinic is to assist young adults in having dedicated time to talk through the things that feel important about the way someone lives – their identity, their aspirations, and their concerns about the future. Treat’s clinic allows a safe space to discuss decision making, independent living, and prioritizing self-interests.
“It’s about emphasizing life and leveraging individual values and goals of how patients and families want to live. It’s a gift to yourself and your family to share and honor your voice, and young adulthood is the perfect time to start normalizing that part of your medical care.” —Dr. Lauren Treat
The clinic is held twice a week, mainly virtually, outside of the multidisciplinary setting, to allow for uninterrupted time with individuals and families. This unique model empowers young adults to be a part of the team and identify a care plan that makes sense for everyone involved in their care and well-being.
PPMD is grateful to have Dr. Treat in our network of Certified Duchenne Care Centers and hopes that this model will inspire other clinics as Duchenne & Becker individuals are living longer, higher quality lives.