Healing: Moving Beyond Medicine
Instilling Hope, Holistically
Forward-thinking hospitals are using innovative healing services to put patients first, including Cleveland Clinic.
"At Cleveland Clinic, we use a unique team approach to provide healing services in collaboration with medical care," says Michelle Cameron, R.N., B.S.N., R.M., and Director of the Healing Solutions Program. Some of the treatments offered are:
- Art and music therapy
- Greeting and turn-down services
- Holistic nursing
- Massage therapy
- Pet therapy
- Social services
- Spiritual care
- Touch therapy
A Warm Welcome
At Cleveland Clinic, trained "greeter" dogs are available to welcome interested patients and visitors to the hospital.
In a pilot program, patients entering hospital rooms on certain units are greeted with flowers from the Environmental Services team. At night, their beds are turned down with a card offering an affirmation (a strong, uplifting message). The card also provides information on guided imagery, a method of directing the thoughts and imagination toward a relaxed, focused state that enhances healing.
The Right Touch
Patients who have a hard time relaxing may benefit from touch therapy with Reiki or "Healing Touch" techniques. "These light, hands-on therapies rebalance the patient's energy system and allow the body to heal," explains Cameron. At Cleveland Clinic, massage therapy also is available, to promote circulation and muscle relaxation.
For animal lovers, petting certified therapy dogs can be very beneficial. In fact, the animal interaction "lowers blood pressure and pulse rate, and helps patients relax," says Cameron.
Patients and families with a hospitalized loved one often seek spiritual solace. At Cleveland Clinic, holistic nurses join trained chaplains in addressing concerns that surround the illness experience and healing process. They can also resolve internal conflicts that may be interfering with a patient's recovery.
Self-Expression and Lower Blood Pressure
When patients have strong feelings they can't put into words, art and music therapy help them express themselves. "Research has shown that with music therapy, the patient's heart rate will actually match the beat of the music and reduce blood pressure," Cameron.
She is excited to see how the Healing Solutions Program has helped patients and families. "Recently, during a month-long stay at Cleveland Clinic, an elderly patient had regular sessions with a holistic nurse, a Reiki therapist and a spiritual counselor," Cameron recalls. "She found it relaxing and considered it a gift toward her healing.”