The Complementary Services Department of Tidewell Hospice offers a full array of special programs that bring quality of life to those with advanced illness. A variety of complementary therapies - used together with conventional medicine - are designed to facilitate stress reduction for patient and caregiver, pain relief and distraction, opportunities for joy and healing of psycho-social issues for patients and their families.
The categories of complementary therapy that Tidewell employs are:
We utilize a type of art called "Expressive Art." This artwork is not concerned with the end result, but rather with the process of creating art. It is art that diverts the patient's attention from the symptoms that might be causing stress and redirects it into the creative process. Several patients have stated that "when I am working with art, I forget about my pain." Some have reached the point that they can say "when I feel pain coming on, I get out my art project and work on that until the pain goes away."
There are three types of providers for these expressive arts services. Licensed and certified expressive arts therapists and nurse/artists are contracted to work directly with patients. These contract artists also train staff, family and volunteers in various techniques.
There is definitely a correlation between the rhythm of music and the rhythm of the human body. Music has the ability to bring the body into harmony when it is stressed and has been able to serve as a "gatekeeper" in an attempt to control pain. Music works on the left side of the brain and blocks out neural transmitters that carry pain signals. This allows the right side of the brain to take over and create images and feelings of peace. Music encourages a body to release its own endorphins which help stop pain.
Our talented and committed volunteer musicians make regular visits to the Hospice Houses and other facilities, as requested. Volunteers and staff are trained in the use of music for relaxation and reminiscence. Guest performers are sometimes employed for special occasions.
Since 2001, Tidewell has employed a horticultural therapy program under the direction of a registered horticultural therapist. The primary goals for working with patients are to use plants and gardening activities to reduce stress and discomfort, alleviate depression and feelings of boredom and loneliness, facilitate communication between patients and their visitors, and enable patients to regain a sense of control by giving them plants to care for and grow as living legacies.
Each Hospice House has a "sensory stimulation" garden (comprised of scented roses and fragrant herbs, as well as a butterfly garden). Many of these projects were achieved with the support of community agencies such as the Master Gardeners and the Sarasota Butterfly Club.
Certified therapists work individually with patients, train and assist volunteers and manage gardens. Trained volunteers use sensory stim plants to engage with patients and their families. Other volunteers maintain floral arrangements for the Hospice Houses and work with the therapists to keep the gardens in good repair.
Through our pet therapy program, we have seen how being able to touch an animal can bring back memories and trigger discussion - sometimes in patients who haven't spoken for months. We've found that the best pain reliever comes when the mind is occupied with something comforting. Studies have shown that after 10 minutes of settling down together - pet and person - blood pressure drops for both.
Our pet therapy volunteers are specially trained in pet visitations. After undergoing the original hospice training, they attend pet therapy orientation and pet evaluation. Pets are evaluated for their temperament and owners are evaluated for their ability to control their animal. All Tidewell pet therapy dogs are certified and insured by Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.
Currently, there are 100 pets that make scheduled visits to hospice houses, nursing homes and patient residences.
Dan Gascon, a well-known speaker on humor, says humor gives balance to our lives in five ways:
In 2001, Tidewell's clowns were officially recognized as an official clown alley by "Clowns of America International." We remain the only hospice-affiliated clown alley in the U.S.
Boasting 30 active volunteers, our clowns are very busy. In addition to volunteer training, they receive 18 hours of clown basics - costuming, makeup and specific aspects of hospice clowning. They meet monthly to discuss upcoming events and schedule educational events to keep their skills fresh. They regularly visit area nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and anywhere their presence is requested. They are a favorite for community events, giving Tidewell a positive way to present its many offerings to the public.
Therapeutic massage is well known for its contribution to pain and stress management and for evoking an overall relaxation response. Pain control is often a primary concern for individuals who have progressively debilitating diseases, and massage has long proven useful as a therapy for any condition that includes a stress component.
A Licensed Massage Therapist oversees and supervises consultations. Current licenses are mandatory, and education and review of policy for treatments, including contraindications, are on-going.
In addition to therapeutic massage delivered by licensed massage therapists, Tidewell also offers Reiki and Caring Touch to patients and families.
The goal of Caring Touch is to nurture and support the client as a partner in their care. It is employed by slow rhythmic stroking, extremely light holds and circular strokes. The caregiver's intuition and intention is stressed in imparting empathy and love. Caring touch can be done by volunteers who have been trained by a certified instructor.
Reiki is a holistic method of healing, functioning on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to promote a sense of wholeness and well-being. It is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that is administered by "laying on hands," and channeling the unseen "life force energy." Reiki I and Reiki II are taught by Reiki Masters on a regular basis to volunteers and staff.
Aromatherapy is defined as the use of essential oils to benefit the mind, body and spirit. The oils can be calming, antiseptic, stimulating and meditative. In the hospice setting, aromatherapy is used for relaxation, restlessness and odor elimination from the patient's room. Please inquire for more information.
Tidewell also has specially blended lotion, designed to relieve terminal restlessness. This "Tranquility Lotion" contains the essential oils; rosewood, myrrh, frankincense, ylang ylang and other essences in a very soothing base. Volunteers are trained to use the Tranquility Lotion, along with Caring Touch, in their vigil workshops.
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