Long term care has taken a dramatic shift in treatment concepts in the last ten years. While much of the dynamic change may be due to the elevated number of patients, it is also due to the general adoption of natural and alternative treatment therapies by both the medical community and the general public. It is not uncommon today to see a long term care facility offering such health services as massage therapy, acupuncture, organic based meals and a whole list of integrative modalities. This is especially important when working with patients that may be dealing with chronic pain, to ensure that they experience quality of life.
The NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) has indicated that complementary therapies are often used in combination with conventional medicine to assist in the promotion of wellness and in the reduction of symptoms that are associated with disease and illness. There is often a higher level of patients that are experiencing pain in the long term care environment as well as those that may be on an extensive and complicated regiment of medication. Long term care works together with many of the integrative practitioners as well as an association with pharmacies to develop regiments that are safe, healthy and bring a reduction of pain to their patients.
One of the most popular methods to reduce pain is for a long term care facility to offer both massage therapy as well as naturally sourced topical creams and lotions that have the added aromatherapy benefits. These are part of the mind-body therapies that are used to enhance the body’s natural healing hormones, offer relaxation and reduce pain symptoms. Many of these therapies have been used for over 6,000 years in a variety of cultures. In long term care, natural topic creams and lotions combined with massage therapy and aromatherapy can reduce the level of anxiety and agitation that a patient may be experiencing. Research has shown that hospice patients have experienced a particular benefit in the reduction of pain and depression while promoting the increase of a sense of well-being. Aromatherapy alone has shown that it reduces a patient’s motor behaviors while allowing a patient to have increased sleep for those that suffer from dementia.
Long term care involves a variety of patients with many different types of conditions. Many of these may be complicated with multiple symptoms. The combination of alternative therapies brings a healthier aspect for diet, supplements, environment and overall sense of wellness. The use of naturally sources ingredients in topical creams and lotions for the reduction of pain often include eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame and clove oils. The most popular aromatherapy scents are vanilla and peppermint.
The overall comfort level of the patients in a long term care facility is the primary goal and the addition of integrative modalities along with partnerships with licensed practitioners that specialize in CAM, brings another level of quality for the life of the patient.
Always confer with your primary caregiver prior to making any changes in your daily regimen.