Massage Therapy for Medically Fragile Children
Posted:Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Maryville, Children’s Healthcare
Des Plaines, IL
The Maryville Children’s Healthcare Center (CHC) treats medically fragile, technology-dependent infants and children who need hospital-to-home transitional care or palliative and hospice care. The CHC offers individualized care and crucial parental training of specialized child care in a homelike environment that combines traditional medical care with alternative medicine approaches to relieve pain, enhance comfort and facilitate healing. The Massage Therapy for Medically Fragile Children program is designed to improve the overall well-being of CHC pediatric patients as well as adjunct the traditional allopathic medical and nursing care. Specific objectives include employing massage therapy to relieve pain and reduce the need for pain medications; enhance physical comfort; facilitate healing/recovery from wounds and orthopedic surgery; increase tolerance to chronic therapies such as ventilator, gastric feedings and IV nutrition, and increase socio-emotional engagement through the positive sensations generated by human touch. These outcomes are documented in patient case notes, which include data on vitals, medication and other medical services delivered, and measurable data reflecting stress levels and other quality of life indicators.
The alternative therapy program was implemented in the spring of 2014 with an initial grant from the Oberweiler Foundation. The impact of stress and how it it’s addressed continues to be revealed in growing numbers of physiological and health and community health research. The use of alternative therapies to complement traditional western medicine has grown alongside the increase in the numbers of medically fragile children with special health care needs. According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 11.6 percent of the more than 10,000 children aged 4 to 17 included in the survey had used or been given some form of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) during the past year. More than half of children with chronic medical conditions use some form of CAM, usually along with conventional care. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), one of the National Institutes of Health, reports the beneficial effects of massage therapy on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Much of the evidence suggests that these effects are short term and that people need to keep getting massages for the benefits to continue.