Almost half of all US hospices now provide alternative medical treatments to their patients, BusinessWeek reports. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 42% of hospice facilities offer treatments including massage, music therapy, pet therapy and meditation.
Massage is the most popular alternative therapy for these hospices to provide: CDC researcher Anita Bercovitz and her team reported that almost 72% of US hospices offering these types of health programs include massage.
Hospice of Palm Beach County in Florida sponsors a combined massage and music therapy program, in which patients receive massages while a guitarist plays them songs from their youth. Several area hospices are implementing this program, and hospice therapists say the patients who receive the treatment experience less pain, anxiety and depression.
Some hospices even extend massage, meditation and aromatherapy services to the families of the dying patient. As there are birth doulas – people who guide women through the process of having a baby – there are also death doulas, who come to hospice facilities to assist and calm not only the patients, but their families. They give massages, play music, and use other alternative medical treatments to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Bercovitz’s report stated that alternative therapies didn’t do anything to cure these patients: "There were no differences in demographics, health, functional status, or admission diagnoses between patients discharged from hospice either by whether they received care from a provider that offered complementary and alternative therapies or whether they received complementary and alternative therapies," she and her team wrote in January 19’s National Health Statistics Reports. What the therapy did do, however, was improve quality of life.
Originally published at GrannyMed