Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Rose by Any Other Name...Complimentary Therapies in Palliative Care

by Susan Thrane, RN, PhD

Non-western, non-medical, non-allopathic
modalities have been called by many names: 
  • complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), 
  • integrative, 
  • supportive, 
  • adjuvant, 
  • placebo and 
  • hooey just to name a few. 

Whatever you call them (I prefer complementary or integrative), modalities such as massage, yoga, aromatherapy, guided imagery, meditation, energy therapies such as Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, or creative art therapies (these include dance/movement, art, and music therapies provided by a trained therapist) do require training for the person providing the therapy. 

For Children....
Playing video games, listening to music, virtual reality programs, coloring, or any craft activity can also be helpful for symptom management for children and adolescents. 

For Infants.....
Modalities helpful for symptom management for infants include kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) swaddling, holding, rocking, breastfeeding, sucking on a pacifier, or a combination of these.

Generally speaking, these therapies don’t stand alone in the symptom management realm; they are most often used in addition to medications for symptom management. What these modalities bring to the palliative care table is a way for children and families to have fun and to participate in their own care.

By providing access to integrative therapies, we can help manage symptoms and increase the child and family quality of life. Offering complementary therapies allows children to manage symptoms without additional medications that come with side effects that may interfere with play and family time.

What do you think?

  • What are your thoughts on the use of complementary modalities in pediatric palliative care?
  • Do you think there is benefit or harm to any of these modalities?
  • Does your facility use any formal complementary modalities? What about informal modalities such as crafts, coloring or listening to music through headphones?
  • Are there any you would like to try in your setting?
  • Have you tried any of the modalities listed for self-care?
  • What do you think about passive (massage, energy therapies, aromatherapy) versus active (yoga, guided imagery, meditation) modalities?

Join us for a lively discussion of complementary therapy use in pediatric palliative care!

What:  #hpm (hospice and palliative medicine/care) chat on Twitter. Also use #pedpc (pediatric palliative care)
When: Wednesday, April 6, 2016. 9pm ET / 6pm PT
Host: Dr. Susan Thrane (@sthrane)

Dr. Susan Thrane is a PhD prepared nurse researcher from the College of Nursing (@osunursing) at The Ohio State University (@OhioState)

For more on past tweetchats, see our archive here.

 and go to www.hpmchat.org for up to date info.

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photocredit: indulgy.com

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