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Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
January, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 01
A Promising Future Comes From Serving Special Populations
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
I bring good news to those of you wishing to expand your practice to special populations! Massage is finding an accepted place in traditional settings that care for our elders, individuals with life-limiting illness or disability. Many of your peers are discovering opportunities in eldercare facilities, hospice and hospitals:
This is good news for us all. And thanks to the increased public awareness of the value of massage, the success these massage therapists are enjoying is being repeated across the country. But there are other influences at work here, too. Societal trends lend promise to this ever-growing specialized market for massage therapists.
Current Trends Support the Growth of Massage Therapy
We live in a society that loves to keep track of facts and statistics. Many of us in the massage profession don't get too excited about this kind of detail. We like to experience the world through other means, kinesthetically, for example. But my own experience and observation as a therapist and an educator prompted me to ask a key question: What are the forces driving the increased opportunities for massage therapists to serve elders and other special populations? Part of the answer to my question can be found in demographic and society changes occurring at the same time that massage therapy is being recognized as a valuable, if not essential, form of service. Call it synchronicity or just old-fashioned good timing, but the end result is that we are in a good place at the right time. Here is what I discovered about current trends.
There are increasing numbers of older adults. In 2006, there were 37.3 million people in the U.S. over age 65. By the year 2030, it is estimated there will be 71.5 million.1
People are living longer. The fastest growing segment of our population is 85 years and older. In the last century, our country has experienced enormous change in how long people live. In 1900, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47.3. Today it is 78. Advances in medicine and health care along with lifestyle changes have contributed to people living longer.2
The types of diseases have changed. In 1900, the leading cause of death among adults was infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza, as well as accidents. Today, adults are affected by more chronic illnesses and living for years with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.2,3
More people are turning to complementary and alternative therapies. Individuals are using complementary and alternative therapies in growing numbers. Studies have shown that common reasons for this trend include: increased desire to participate in one's self care; concerns regarding side effects of medications; concern about health care costs; and consumer dissatisfaction with conventional medical care. One study showed that adults over 65 were most motivated to use complementary modalities for pain relief, to improve quality of life and to maintain health and fitness. The complementary and alternative therapies most commonly used by these older adults were chiropractic, herbal medicine and massage therapy. According to a 2006 consumer survey by the AMTA, the use of massage therapy among those 65 and older has tripled since 1997.4,5
There is greater public access to hospice care. Hospice is a relative newcomer to the health care system. Hospice today refers to specialized care of dying patients and can be traced back to 1967 when Dame Cicely Saunders founded the first modern hospice near London. She, along with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, introduced holistic hospice care to the U.S. and the first hospice in America, the Connecticut Hospice, was opened in 1974. Today, there are more than 4,000 hospice organizations in the U.S.6,7
Hospitals are developing palliative care programs. (To palliate means to make comfortable by alleviating symptoms from an illness.) Hospices have traditionally provided palliative care to individuals suffering from terminal illness. Now, more hospitals are turning to palliative care for patients with advanced chronic or life-threatening illness, emphasizing symptom management, communication and other means to improve quality of life for patients and their families. Larger hospitals, university medical centers and not-for-profit hospitals are where most palliative care programs are found.7,8
Hospital-based massage programs are growing in number. A 2006 national survey by the AMTA showed the number of hospitals offering massage increased more than one-third over the previous two years. Of those hospitals, 71 percent indicated that massage therapy is offered for patient stress relief and comfort; 67 percent utilized massage therapy for pain management; 52 percent provided massage for cancer patients and 37 percent offered massage for end-of-life care.9,10
The Culture Change Movement is impacting nursing home care. This is a grass-roots movement, transforming the culture of aging in America and bringing person-centered care to the nursing home industry. Spearheaded by the Pioneer Network, this movement is about fundamental change in nursing homes, creating a less institutionalized and more humane environment that supports the elder's life, dignity, rights and freedom.11,12
So, what does all this have to do with you? If you are a massage therapist who feels drawn to work with elders, the ill or those in end-of-life care, it has a great deal to do with you. As our population ages, greater numbers of older adults will be seeking ways to live well longer or to find relief from the symptoms of the conditions affecting them. If you have the knowledge, skills and sensitivity to meet their needs, there is potential for your practice to thrive. Many elders will require the assistance of a care facility due to debilitating illness or injury.
The doors are opening for massage therapists to work in long-term care facilities as evidence shows that skilled touch improves the quality of life for the individuals who reside there. Public awareness and access to hospice and palliative care will continue to expand; and massage is an effective, non-pharmacological approach for comfort care. Keep in mind that nursing homes, hospice organizations and hospitals are businesses too, and they are continually looking for innovative programs to attract customers in their changing and competitive market. Bringing a massage therapist on board does exactly that.
The good news is that the potential for you to successfully expand your practice will only increase. What's more, working with individuals in this special population gives you the opportunity to serve others in a way that is profound. It can be the most uplifting and deeply rewarding work you will ever do. Now that is really good news!
Click here for previous articles by Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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