Fair atmosphere promotes complementary therapy
Fair atmosphere promotes complementary therapy
Patients get hands-on experience
When the advisory board for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at Craig Hospital in Englewood, CO, looked for new ways to educate patients and staff about these types of modalities, they decided to try a health fair.
"One of our main goals is to educate staff and patients about CAM modalities, and we thought one of the ways we could do that was to put together a health fair that would be educational and experiential as well," says Terry Chase, ND, RN, patient and family education program coordinator. The nonprofit rehabilitation facility specializes in the care, treatment, disability management, and research for patients with spinal cord or traumatic brain injury.
To provide education and experience, several modalities were selected that could be presented in a variety of ways, including hands-on interaction and demonstration. However, participation in several activities, such as reflexology and massage, was limited to staff only. The patients watched because a physician’s order was needed for them to participate in those modalities because of their injuries.
The three-hour fair was kicked off with a qigong demonstration in which attendees could participate. Also, the inhouse 24-hour relaxation station called The C.A.R.E. Channel was available for viewing. The closed-circuit channel provides nature images and instrumental music to create a healing environment. (For information on The C.A.R.E. Channel, see source box below.)
Music therapy was provided by a group of harpists that is part of a program called "Music for Healing." The musicians traveled throughout the health care facility visiting bed-bound patients.
Several booths were set up in the patient education area to provide exposure to several other modalities. The vice president of nursing, who is certified in aromatherapy, had a table with samples, informational materials, and aromatherapy recipes. She mixed aromatherapy sprays and lotions for people to take home with them that were tailored to a specific need, such as easing stress.
A booth featured an array of healthy snacks for people to try. These included energy bars, health shakes, and nutritious breads donated by vendors. Another vendor distributed bottles of water. A distributor of magnet therapy products displayed various items that had magnets imbedded in them, such as neck straps. People could try them out at the booth.
A couple of reflexologists took sign-ups for 10-minute reflexology treatments, and a massage therapist provided neck and shoulder massages.
A Chi machine was perhaps the most unusual modality presented at the fair. This device is used while lying on the floor. People place their feet on top of the machine and it moves side to side, rolling their lower limbs. "It was one of those on-the-edge things, but also very well received," says Chase. It initiated a lot of conversation between health care professionals about the contraindications for their patients at the facility.
This is the type of awareness and discussion Chase hoped to create by offering exposure to a variety of complementary therapy modalities. She wants educational efforts to make the providers aware of various therapies so they will be better informed and know what is right for their patients and what might not be helpful. "My goal is to educate people so they are informed and have some experience or exposure and also reduce the fear factor," says Chase.
Board members and/or staff recommended the vendors, and complementary therapy practitioners were invited to participate in the health fair to ensure credibility. The hours were from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., so the event would take place during lunch with a little overlap on either side. It was scheduled to not conflict with therapy time.
Word of the event got out to staff through the CAM advisory board. Also, flyers were distributed and the health fair was posted on the inhouse TV station. Chase placed reminders in patient’s rooms. It was held in the patient education area so it would be difficult to miss. "The patient education area is a central place for patients and families, so they are in and out a lot," says Chase.
About 300 people attended, and because the facility only has 80 patients at any one time, most of those who came were staff. The area was so crowded that it was difficult for patients, who are in wheelchairs, to move around.
To remedy the problem, the next fair will be organized in time blocks for "patients only," says Chase. She also hopes to give patients flyers or coupons of some sort so that they can obtain a physician’s order in advance to participate in some of the activities. This will give patients the opportunity to experience some of the modalities, she says.
Those who attended the September 2000 health fair had chances to win donated door prizes, such as massage gift certificates, bread coupons from the bread store, and aromatherapy lotions. There were a total of 20 gifts donated. "It was really a lot of fun, so we are thinking of doing it again this fall," says Chase.
For more information about setting up a health fair that features complementary therapies, contact:
- Terry Chase, ND, RN, Patient and Family Education Program Coordinator, Craig Hospital, 3425 S. Clarkson St., Englewood, CO 80110. Telephone: (303) 789-8211. E-mail: [email protected].
For information about The C.A.R.E. Channel, contact:
- Healing HealthCare Systems Inc., 100 W. Grove St., Suite 175, Reno, NV 89509. Telephone: (800) 348-0799 or (775) 827-0300. Web: www.healinghealth.com.
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