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A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
July, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 07
Ethical Considerations for Pediatric Massage
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
The practice of massage therapy is generally regulated throughout the U.S. with many states having standard guidelines and a method of licensing/registering massage therapists and practitioners.As a therapist, you must always adhere to the guidelines mandated within the area (geographic location) you are practicing. When working with pediatric populations, it is especially important to have a solid grasp of legal mandate, as well as ethical considerations due to the fact that not everyone has a clear understanding of pediatric massage therapy. Clarity and consistency will help develop a professional understanding of nurturing touch as an important part of every child's life.
Within a pediatric healthcare practice, privacy, safety and care is of the utmost importance. While these same qualities are important for all clients, children require a practice of extra special care. By learning and following a professional code of ethics, you will not only be able to better assist clients, their families and other healthcare providers through interactions, but will also ensure you are received as a professional service.
What are Ethics?
As healthcare providers, we are judged on our technical competence in our profession and the ability to build trust in others. In order to project this allure of pride and confidence in our field, we must have it within ourselves; when you practice ethically not only do you have more pride in yourself, but also your profession. Traditionally, ethics is defined as a philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; concepts of good and bad, right and wrong. Ethics encompasses our moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior, the correctness of specified conduct and the discipline of dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
Is It Legal?
Understanding the legality of your actions is an important factor in the decision-making process. With child clients, we face another layer of legality due to requirements of consent from not only the pediatric client, but also their parents/guardians, and in some cases, their healthcare provider.
Is It Ethical?
Professional ethical behavior relates to your actions and being sure they are consistent with the standards established or practiced by others in the same profession. It is best to adopt a standard of ethics that serves your practice and clients well and stick to it.
Is It Fair?
This is an area that is subjective and many people have a different understanding of what they feel is fair. We base our beliefs and understanding on what we feel is fair, while another may feel differently or may have chosen to do something in another way. Always reflect on whether the decision you are making may result in harm or an arbitrary benefit. If this is the case, then it is not considered "fair." With each child and family we must practice the same care and regard to safety, boundaries and scope of practice, no matter what.
Children need clear boundaries, as do health providers. It is imperative that we understand and follow good professional and personal boundaries to establish the best care.
Within the guidelines of informed consent, a client/patient must be fully informed of the care you wish to provide so they may make an educated choice in receiving hands-on care. This is the client's legal and ethical right to direct what happens with their care plan, their body and to consent to, or refuse therapy. For children, this may involve their parents or healthcare provider's request for you to provide massage therapy. Typically, a child is not calling you to schedule an appointment, but when a child says no to any part of the massage, or wishes to have it change, this is to be respected, whether the massage is medically ordered or not.
Many children don't understand what massage is or how it might be beneficial. Having a good explanation of massage therapy in terms they understand, along with why massage might be beneficial, will help you to inform and receive an appropriate consent to begin or continue your session.
Always respect cultural, ethnic and religious beliefs of the patient and family and do not impose your own beliefs or values. "The United States is becoming increasingly culturally diverse and this trend is expected to continue throughout the 21st century. One does not have to look far to see this reality, especially in metropolitan areas. In some cities (e.g., Miami, Los Angeles) persons in business and others must be bilingual to communicate. With the increase in cultural diversity comes a responsibility for ethical thoughtfulness on how this diversity affects health care practice." (Ludwick & Silva, August 14, 2000)
Working with children in hospice and palliative care can be emotionally different than working with other pediatric patients/clients. Not only are you dealing with your own belief system, but you may be challenged with the question, "What will happen when I die?" Children of all ages may pose this question. First, recognize your beliefs may not mirror those of the child or their family, and it is not your place to "fix it" or even answer it directly. You might try using a reflective response of, "What do you think will happen?" Listen to their response with open ears and mind. Do not judge, do not place your beliefs onto them and do not try changing their mind to your beliefs. You can always respond with an answer of, "That is definitely possible," or "That sounds lovely." The reality is whatever your beliefs may be, we do not know what will happen if the child is to pass, but being present is essential for the child.
Other Situations to Consider
Navigating the waters of massage can be tricky when you are working with children. The question of who is the client may be raised during the session. While it may seem obvious, when you work with children with special healthcare needs, you are often interacting with tired and stressed parents or healthcare providers who may need a shoulder massage. It is crucial to ask yourself if this seems appropriate, should a second appointment be scheduled for the caregivers or is it ethical to provide massage for the parents when referred to work with pediatric patient?
To Drink or Not to Drink
Should I offer my client a drink of water at the end of the session? In this question, we are reflecting on a typical practice of many massage practitioners. Offering a drink of water at the end of the session is almost industry standard, but not when dealing with children. Children can have many different healthcare concerns and may not be in a position to make this decision on their own. If they are undergoing medical treatment or have a special healthcare plan, having a drink of water could be harmful. Anything taken by mouth needs to be done under proper advisement, which is not your decision to make. Accordingly, it is out of your scope to determine if water is appropriate before, during or after your hands-on session.
What if I see signs of abuse or neglect, or if my pediatric client tells me they are experiencing abuse or are feeling suicidal? These type of events need to be reported as soon as possible. By working with the public as a healthcare provider we are mandated to report these situations. Some children have no one else they can speak with, or feel comfortable to talk to, so you may be it. If you have concerns that are real and legitimate, making an anonymous call or reporting it to your supervisor in a healthcare setting is required. First, do no harm, which means you should report when you feel harm has come or will come to your client.
How do I assess appropriate boundaries if my client is not able to communicate with me? Often times, communication is largely non-verbal. Always look at your client's body language and recognize their unique engagement and disengagement cues. If you feel you are not able to read your client's cues, or if communication is difficult, than speak with the client/patient's immediate care providers to seek guidance on communication. Parents and healthcare staff communicate with the child under their care on a daily basis and it is not safe to assume that you will already know how to recognize each child's cues. Taking the time to meet them at their level and communicate with those around them is extremely important.
Is it alright for me to accept gifts from my clients or their family members? Generally speaking no, this is not acceptable. Think carefully about why you are being given the gift and how this will impact the relationship. Remember, clients and family members sometimes struggle with receiving the generous gift you are offering, but it is simply what we do as massage therapists. Children may color you a picture or card as a thank you for their massage and this is generally acceptable to receive. However, if they offer you their favorite stuffed animal, it is best for you to ask them to keep it safe until you return another time.
Working with pediatric patients and clients is rewarding and different than working with any adult population. Knowing how best to communicate, maintain boundaries and practice ethically makes all of the difference to the child, their family and their healthcare team.
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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