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News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
April, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 04
What Does an Evidence-Based Practice Look Like?
By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR
We hear a lot these days about evidence-based practice (EBP). As massage therapy becomes more accepted as an allied health profession, I think it's important that we continue to build an evidence-based case for why massage works.So, what makes a practice evidenced-based? I hope to give you a basic understanding of EBP and offer examples from my own work elders in long-term care facilities.
Definitions of EBP vary somewhat but they all seem to agree that EBP is a combination of:
The desired outcome of EBP is optimal service to each client/patient on a case-by-case basis. I've paraphrased the steps presented by Duke University Medical School to determine if an approach, modality or method is indeed evidence-based. What we are really trying to find out is whether the methods or techniques we use really are effective to meet the client's need and why or why not? Then we can be confident in the actions we take in caring for our client and also when we articulate the benefits of our services.
Start with the client's clinical problem or a question which arises from the care of the client. Identify the need or problem of the individual client. What's the reason you are seeing this client? Generally, the reason for referral or the client's stated goal is a good place to start.
For example, I have a client who has Alzheimer's disease who is cared for in a memory support unit of an assisted living facility. She becomes increasingly physically agitated (rummaging through other elder's things and grabbing people's arms as they walk by her) and disoriented (going into other people's rooms) in the afternoons, disturbing those who also live there. She has been referred in hopes of calming her and easing the agitated, restless behavior.
Construct a well-built clinical question derived from this client's problem. The question must be phrased in such a way as to facilitate finding an answer when you look for relevant research. The question should include: 1. The key problem of the patient; 2. What treatment, method or modalities are you are considering using; and 3. The desired outcome.
In the case of my client, I might ask this question: "In people with Alzheimer's disease, is hand massage and/or back massage effective in reducing physical agitation or restlessness?"
Select the appropriate resource(s) and conduct a search. The type of question we ask can help lead us to the best type of study or research to look for. Massage therapy questions often center on how to select treatments that do more good than harm and that are worth the efforts and costs of using them. We're told by the Duke team that randomized controlled trials are best to look for when asking a therapy or treatment question. They offer this explanation of this kind of study: "Randomized controlled clinical trials are carefully planned experiments that introduce a treatment or exposure to study its effect on real patients. They include methodologies that reduce the potential for bias (randomization and blinding) and that allow for comparison between intervention groups and control (no intervention) groups. A randomized controlled trial is a planned experiment and can provide sound evidence of cause and effect."
It's important to understand that just searching the internet for articles isn't enough. We must be careful about the source. The quip, "if it's written on the Web, it must be so," does not apply here! So, where should we look? One recommended source is PubMed/MEDLINE, a respected database of literature. It's beyond the scope of this article to explain how to go about a search in PubMed, however there are tutorials on that website. Since my question is a therapy question, I set out to find studies that used randomized controlled trials about hand and/or back massage to decrease agitation in people with dementia. I found a number of studies exploring massage in dementia care. Several abstracts of the articles report that hand or slow-stroke back massage reduced anxiety, restlessness and other forms of agitation. My next task is to review the articles to see if the methods used for the study meet criteria for valid research.
Appraise that evidence for its validity (closeness to the truth) and applicability (usefulness in clinical practice). Fortunately, there are guides to help with this process. We are looking to answer three basic questions:
In the end, we want to have confidence in the research we cite. One example from my search is a 2008 study, Favorite Music and Hand Massage: Two Interventions to Decrease Agitation in Residents with Dementia. In my best judgment, this study holds up to the criteria for validity. It compares the effectiveness of favorite music (FM) and hand massage (HM) in reducing agitated behaviors. Researchers found that following ten minute sessions of FM and HM individually and combined significantly decreased agitation for up to an hour following the session.
Apply the results to your client. Integrate that evidence with clinical expertise, patient preferences and apply it to practice. So, back to my client. Because the afternoon is the time when she becomes more restless, I schedule sessions for mid-afternoon twice a week. Sessions consists of hand massage, slow-stroke back massage and focused one-to-one attention. I also do staff education, teaching them how to do a simple five minute hand massage and focused touch.
Evaluate client's response to treatment. What result do you see in the individual client? Were they similar or different from results you found in the research? Do you need to make adjustments to your approach? In the case of my client, she was receptive to receiving hand and back massage and she tolerated a thirty minute session without distraction when the session was carried out in a quiet room. She was talkative during the hand massage and often fell asleep during the back massage. At the end of the session, she remained in a calm, quiet state from thirty minutes to an hour. The care staff reported that they noticed a decrease in the restless behaviors, especially her tendency to grab people's arms. The staff used the simple hand massage protocol in the late afternoon and reported it seemed to also help relax her and that she enjoyed the interaction and smiled.
Where does my clinical experience fit in to all this? I've had hundreds of sessions with elders living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, many of whom have some degree of agitated behavior, anxiety and restlessness. It's been my experience that human touch, massage and compassionate presence ease these issues and have a profound effect on enhancing quality of life. I've also witnessed the effect of shared human touch on the ability of a person with advanced dementia to engage in relationship.
And last, but certainly not least, what about my client's needs, preferences, expectations? It's a little tricky sometimes to determine what my client might want or need when she can't state them clearly because of dementia. It falls to me to tune in to the non-verbal cues. People with dementia tell us a lot about their inner world and needs through behavior. My client's restless behaviors that annoyed others are her way of communicating a need in the moment. Perhaps she's lonely or is disoriented and thinks she needs to get home to take care of her kids. I also always know that one universal expectation of each client is to have basic human needs met and to be treated with respect.
Taking all this into account, can I state with confidence that my approach is evidence-based? I believe that, yes, I can. I hope this has helped you understand what evidence-based practice is all about so you can perhaps apply it to your own work.
Click here for more information about Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR.
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