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Shortly after Paulette Swanson, RN, BSN, education coordinator at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, MN, attended a conference on integrating complementary therapy into a health care system, she helped form a task force at her institution to investigate the possibilities.
"One of the speakers said that a wave is coming, and we would either be on the crest of it or buried underneath it. I thought his statement was true when you look at how many people are using complementary therapies. Depending on what study you read, there is anywhere from 50% to 70%," says Swanson.
The task force at Swanson’s facility investigated the need for complementary therapy by surveying physicians, nurses, and patients. They found that most physicians who responded were in favor of using some form of complementary therapy. Their top four choices were therapeutic massage, bio-feedback, relaxation therapies, and acupuncture. Physicians also were asked if they had any experience in using complementary therapies, and most did not.
Most nurses who responded to the survey also thought patients would benefit from complementary therapies. However, their top four choices differed from the physicians. They selected relaxation therapies, therapeutic massage, herbal remedies, and healing touch.
Patients were interviewed as part of a pain management survey. Patients were asked if they would use complementary therapies if they were offered for pain management. Sixty-seven percent of the patients said they would use them.
Based on these surveys and on site visits to regional medical centers that had implemented complementary therapies, the task force determined that a need existed at Lakeview.
Working with the pain management committee (which was investigating ways to better control pain), four complementary therapies have been implemented, and all have standing physician orders for their use. They include therapeutic massage, acupressure, relaxation therapy, and guided imagery to be used for pain control.
While staff still are working on ways to incorporate these complementary therapies, a few of the problems have been ironed out. The massage is done by physical therapists who have been trained in the technique. Nurses have been taught how to do acupressure so they can use it with patients on the units. Several relaxation therapy tapes and headphones have been purchased for patient use. The task force is investigating the possibility of providing access to a dedicated cable channel that has guided imagery.
Staff need to be educated so they in turn can educate patients about complementary therapies, says Swanson. Therefore, guest speakers will be brought in to address staff on the various therapies. A column on complementary therapies also will be included in a biweekly newspaper written for staff.
Although nothing has yet been compiled for patient education, the task force will be working on it. However, the hospital did have a women’s wellness dinner that focused on holistic health. Several interactive displays introduced such modalities as acupressure, journaling, meditation, herbal therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, and gardening therapy.
Complementary therapies are even being addressed on the nursing assessment form. Patients now are asked what herbal therapies they are taking in addition to their regular medications, says Swanson.
For more information on incorporating therapeutic touch into a health care setting, contact:
• Donna Anderson, RN, MS, MAN, CS-FNP, Program Coordinator, Nurse Practitioner, Pain Management Resource Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, 915 East First St., Duluth, MN 55805-2193. Telephone: (218) 733-2485. Fax: (218) 733-2457. E-mail: email@example.com.
• Judi Cantone, MSN, RN, Educator, University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Nursing Development, Education and Life Long Learning, 420 Guardian Drive, NED, Room 202, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Telephone: (215) 662-2676. Fax: (215) 662-6069. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Kate Dean-Haidet, RN, MSN, CS, Instructor, Capital University School of Nursing, East Main St., Columbus, OH 43209. Telephone: (614) 236-6705. Fax: (614) 236-6157. E-mail: email@example.com.
• Marcia Taylor-Carlile, RN, CDE, Team Leader for Healthy Member/Healing Environment, Strategic Learning Development, Mercy Healthcare Sacramento, Mercy American River Hospital, 4949 Engle Road, Carmichael, CA 95608. Telephone: (916) 484-2117. Fax: (916) 484-2227. E-mail: MTCarlile@chw.edu.
• Linda Turner, RN, MN, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Pain Management, Vancouver Hospital, The Healing Touch Centre, 575 West 8th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1M9 Canada. Telephone: (604) 875-8284. Fax: (604) 875-4388. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about therapeutic touch guidelines, contact:
• Nurse Healers-Professional Associates International. 1211 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Telephone: (215) 545-8079. Fax: (215) 545-8107. E-mail: email@example.com. Web site: www.therapeutic-touch.org.
For more information on creating a task force to integrate complementary therapies into the health care system, contact:
• Paulette Swanson, RN, BSN, Education Coordinator, Lakeview Hospital, 927 West Churchill St., Stillwater, MN 55082. Telephone: (651) 430-4551. Fax: (651) 430-4528. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.