Integrative medicine, which blends conventional medicine with complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and therapeutic music, has been shown to improve patients’ well-being and help them manage pain, allowing some to take less medication.
Many patients, including those recovering from severe trauma and surgery, don’t have access to integrative care because few hospitals offer it. The Institute for Integrative Health is working to change that.
Through a partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System and the Center for Integrative Medicine, the Institute is supporting a unique integrative care program at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Institute. Encompassing every stage of a patient’s experience—from critical care through rehabilitation—the Integrative Patient Care Project has strong potential to serve as a model for programs at other health care institutions.
In tandem with conventional treatment, the Integrative Patient Care Project offers complementary therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, relaxation techniques like guided imagery, and Reiki, a form of energy medicine whose goal is to activate a healing response. The program is designed to demonstrate the practical viability of inpatient integrative care, improve patient–reported outcomes, and provide cost effectiveness guidelines.
Evidence of the growing interest in this approach was the invitation for Brian Berman, MD, president of the Institute for Integrative Health and director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, to present the recent Mancuso Family Lecture in Humanism, part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Surgery Ground Rounds Series.
In his lecture, “The Golden Moment: What it is and Why it Matters,” Dr. Berman explained the Center for Integrative Medicine’s approach to pain management. He highlighted two critically ill Shock Trauma patients who were helped immensely through complementary therapies along with conventional medicine.
Further exploring the value of an integrative approach, the Institute co-sponsored a conference last month at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) on integrative models of care for patients suffering from cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, and trauma.
Leaders of the world’s top six integrative medicine programs, including the Institute-supported program at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, convened after the conference to explore best practices and develop recommendations for improving patient care. Guidelines on structure, integration, financial models, and clinical management will be published in peer-reviewed medical literature.
These are examples of how the Institute is fostering bold ideas that can transform health care.