“Embracing Alternative Care: Top hospitals put unorthodox therapies into practice” profiles integrative care in several U.S. hospitals, including Children’s Memorial in Chicago.
It’s officially a trend, according to U.S. News and World Report’s recent cover story:
“Children’s Memorial is just one of many academic hospitals where unconventional therapies have found a home. Elite centers like the Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, and the University of California-San Francisco now offer acupuncture, massage, and other CAM services. All 18 hospitals on U.S. News’s most recent “America’s Best Hospitals” superselective Honor Roll provide CAM of some type. Fifteen of the 18 also belong to the three-year-old Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, 36 U.S. teaching hospitals pushing to blend CAM with traditional care.”
Dr. David Steinhorn, who runs the program at Children’s Memorial, sits on our IPC Board of Directors. As he notes in the article, “I’m a very serious, hard-core ICU doctor, but I have seen these therapies benefit my patients, even if I don’t know how.” He and his staff continue to work on developing innovative research protocols to study phenomena such as energy healing in the pediatric ICU – looking for the “how.” Children’s Memorial is one of several academically-based pediatric integrative medicine programs, and Dr. Sunita Vohra in Canada and I have been working for some time to catalog these centers. There are currently about 15 such programs in the U.S. and Canada that have clinical, educational and research components; all are in various states of development. At Hackensack University Medical Center, where I direct the Pediatric Integrative Medicine program, we have been consulted for children with cancer, autism, chronic pain and a host of chronic illnesses that either have few conventional treatment options or for which families are hoping complementary therapies may bring much-needed symptom relief. Of equal importance, integrative programs bring a much needed holistic care philosophy to typically “high-tech, low-touch” hospitals. While nurses have promoted holistic healing at the bedside for some time, doctors have been slower to adopt such methods. But, as the USNWR piece points out, perhaps we’re reaching a tipping point.
P.S. The USNWR web site features a useful side-bar (Living Well) with general information about the field of integrative medicine.