The Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm recently formalized a groundbreaking palliative care program that raises new standards for palliative and end-of-life care in the United States. Kaplan Multimedia, Inc. teamed up with the Carmelite Sisters to produce a thirteen-minute film capturing the hallmarks of the program titled “The Difference is Love.” The film’s excellence was recognized with a nomination for a 2017 Suncoast Emmy Award under the category “Societal Concerns.”
“We see each person as an individual who has a story, and we need to know that story,” as the film begins with the voice of Sr. M. Peter Lillian Di Maria, O.Carm. Palliative care, often confused with hospice care, is specialized pain relief that can be administered to anyone with a serious illness, even if he or she has no life-limiting prognosis. Since the founding of the Congregation in 1929, The Carmelite Sisters’ philosophy has been to care for the whole person body mind and spirit. Staff and Sisters use a teamwork approach among all departments to help alleviate the resident’s pain in mind, body and spirit in effort to make a resident as comfortable as possible.
The Carmelite Sisters’ philosophy that life is precious until the end stands in stark contrast to the movement of promoting physician-assisted suicide throughout our country. Not only does The Difference is Love highlight the Carmelite Sisters’ unique approach, but it also tells the stories of those whose lives have been made better by the program. The message is a hopeful one, that holistic, loving care and a natural death are a better alternative to an earlier death from a belief that life as an elder is meaningless. “It was affirming to know that the National Academy of Arts and Sciences recognized the importance of Palliative Care and its significance to our elders and those who are facing debilitating illnesses,” said Sr. Peter Lillian, who oversaw the development of the program.
Joel Kaplan, director of photography, and Linda Corley, writer and producer, each bring over thirty years of experience in the film industry and a combined twenty-one Emmy nominations and fifteen awards to their work. “It’s one of my most meaningful nominations because the subject matter has significant impact on society. It’s gratifying to be in a field where your information helps direct, inform and enlighten,” said Linda Corley. The filming took place at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham, MA where residents, staff, families and sisters opened their homes to tell their stories. Stacey Sumereau served as Associate Producer, and John Sumereau served as Production Assistant. The film can be viewed on the Carmelite Palliative Care website, www.carmelitepalliative.org.