I recently came across a short, but interesting article “How a healing garden could benefit your hospital“. As the title suggests, it provided suggestions on creating an outdoor space for patients and visitors alike to find a temporary sanctuary from the weight of their infirmaries or worries.
Who hasn’t at one time or another, found them self, surrounded by a field of beautiful flowers, enveloped by a stand of majestic trees, or mesmerized by the glistening of water flowing over smooth round rocks? With no sounds of the hustle and bustle, we have escaped. What a feeling that brings.
Creating a Healing Environment
Whether or not your cancer treatment facility can provide a healing garden for your patients, your inside environment should be able to provide some of the same peace and calm. A cell phone free zone, no television, music should be light or there could just be nature sounds. If space allows, a fountain or aquarium can provide that touch of the outdoors inside. Well maintained artificial foilage placed strategically could provide semi-private areas for patients and guests to sit together quietly.
Treating the "Whole" Patient with Integrative Medicine
In health care these days, especially cancer care, there is an increasing emphasis on caring for the mind and spirit in addition to the body, often referred to as Integrative Medicine. Traditional medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are accompanied by massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture treatments, aromatherapy, etc.
In browsing around for more information on Integrative Medicine, I found a very comprehensive program at Duke Medical Center. Any cancer center that is looking to implement any of these types of services into their program will find a wealth of information on their site.
When adding any new service, it is imperative to do your research especially in the case of receiving insurance reimbursement. Medicare and commercial payers typically limit coverage to behavioral health services and physician provided services. Centers provide many of the integrative medicine services free of charge or charge only a nominal fee.
Even though Integrated Medicine in not considered a valuable revenue stream, it can definitely be considered an investment in the health and well-being of the patient. In the future, we can hope that the patient benefits can be studied and these therapies can be added as covered services by all payers.