The term ‘alternative therapies’ may still receive a bad rap in certain circles, but it isn’t necessarily referring to snake oil or other methods that have been proven ineffective. Alternative therapies can be, in many respects, highly effective at helping to reduce pain, combat anxiety, and allow people live more comfortably. Alternative therapies are increasing in popularity and now finding inroads in the in–home care marketplace.
Some of these alternative therapies that are finding more root in the home health care industry include essential oils and even massage therapies. By utilizing these types of alternative therapies, home health care agencies have an opportunity to offer a different level of comfort for clients, but it does require careful attention to detail and possibly certification or licensure, depending on state or local regulations.
According to ABC’s KJCT 8 News in its blog, HopeWest hosts AromaCare conference, written by Erin Crooks:
“This three-day course was offered to healthcare professionals who wish to add in extra comfort and well-being into end-of-life care. AromaCare uses a mix of essential oils, and massages that can bring more comfort to a patient. The therapy sessions were taught by nurse and Aroma therapist, Madeleine Kerkhof. She is an expert in palliative care, and specializes in care for the elderly.
“I think that it brings so much more well-being, safety and sense of comfort to patients and also their loved ones, because they are going through the motions of sickness, suffering and dying. And we can relieve quite a bit of that,” says Madeleine Kerkhof.”
There are certain scientific merits to some of these alternative therapies, and while there will be a few that are nothing more than ‘feel good’ services that do little, if anything, to improve health, reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and other factors, there are some that have research backing up claims of offering certain benefits.
The in–home care marketplace is expanding and growing, and with it is going to come a number of alternative therapies that are marketed as being effective at improving health, lowering stress, and offering other potential benefits. Home care agencies have a responsibility to the clients they serve — seniors and disabled adults alike — to investigate all potential options that may improve quality of life, comfort, and even improve overall health.
Whether an agency takes on alternative therapies are not isn’t going to reduce the quality of care aging seniors and disabled adults should receive for the most basic necessities, including bathing, toileting, and assistance with other Activities of Daily Living.