Alternative Therapies Gaining Popularity with Hospital Patients
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Garret Kester is at CMC-Mercy, recovering from hip replacement surgery. He's managing pain with the help of aromatherapy. Kester likes the alternative and doesn't rule out the possibility of continuing it at home. He says, "If it looks like it helps, yes, absolutely."
Registered nurse Laurie Nixon likes to be able to offer the treatment to patients. She says, "Absolutely, absolutely, we see it work."
Down the hall at CMC-Mercy is the massage therapy room. Pippa Purcell says her patients like the sessions so much, they often return as paying clients. She says, "We get letters, we get cards, we get people who come back in here and get massages here."
"Our sense is that the demand is there from our patients and the community," says Dr. Dael Waxman. He oversees Patient Centered Programming at CMC-Mercy. Last year, the hospital was Planetree Designated, the first in North Carolina. It means highly personalized, integrative care for mind, body and spirit.
Research shows in addition to patient satisfaction, alternative therapies decrease length of stay and more. "There's reduced requests for pain medications, there's reduction of anxiety so they're a lot calmer for their therapies and their treatments," says Waxman.
At Presbyterian Cancer Rehab and Wellness, alternative therapy in the form of personalized exercise is underway with survivors like Carol Grier, who battled breast cancer. She says, "This has been so helpful for me in terms of dealing with the anxiety and stress, some of the aftermath of that and picking life back up."
The facility offers yoga and massage for cancer patients, too. "They don't have any negative side effects to this treatment expect for feeling fabulous when they leave from massage," says manager Tara Ballard.
Most insurance doesn't yet cover these alternative therapies but Ballard says that doesn't deter people. "Most people don't mind paying out of pocket, they're gonna look for it here or outside in the community," says Ballard.
Grier loves the combination of traditional and alternative therapy and is pleased more hospitals are responding. She says, "I really think it's about time, I really do!"
For more information on Presbyterian, go to http://www.presbyterian.org/site/our_services/cancer_services/cancer_rehabilitation/
CMC-Northeast, University and Main also offer alternative therapies like acupuncture, pastoral psychotherapy and healing touch. For more information on CMC, go to http://www.cmc-mercy.org/