200277 Complementary practices and end of life care: Bridging the divide and making placid teh turbulent waters

Monday, November 9, 2009

Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD , College of Nursing at University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Public Health, Mental Health and Administration, Chicago, IL
Nancy Floy, LAc Dipl Ac , Heartwood Center, Chicago, IL
The rise and success of the hospice movement and palliative care specialty have done much to improve the quality of our end of life experiences. In the United States, however, the western paradigm still predominates and our 'treatment'of end of life 'symptoms' still emphasizes the pharmacological approach. One of the most common and troubling manifestations of the dying trajectory is terminal agitation. Too often well intentioned clinicians 'treat' the symptom by obliterating it through sedation, thus robbing the dying individual and loved ones of the last precious moments of lucidity. A large nonprofit hospice organization in metropolitan Chicago has collaborated with a community center offering complimentary practices. This partnership resulted in a protocol which combines meditative exercises, specifically the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen, with adapted touch therapy, namely that of shiatsu, a form of highly specialized acupressure. Designed to calm the clinicians so that they may become conduits of peace to the dying and their loved ones, this protocol has great potential for widespread application and replication.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the collaboration between a large metropolitan hospice organization and a small integrative health care cooperative Explain the potential of meditative practices like Tonglen and body work modalities like shiatsu to address the issue of terminal agitation Analyze the common link of reciprocity between both Tonglen and shiatsu and how this benefits clinician,dying individual and loved ones.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Death

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a hospice nurse and shiatsu practitioner
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.