Wellness and prevention information from the experts at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing

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Experiencing integrative medicine as an inpatient

by Pam Weiss-Farnan, PhD, MPH, BSN, RN, Dipl.Ac, LAc   Licensed Acupuncturist

As an acupuncturist with the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, I offer care to hospitalized patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

This hospital is home to high-tech medicine, some of the best in the nation. But since 2003, when the Penny George Institute started offering holistic services at the bedside to complement conventional care, something uncommon happened. Services like acupuncture, massage therapy, aromatherapy, guided imagery and music therapy have become a part of the fabric of care here. Physicians, nurses and patients daily request such integrative services to enhance care and healing.

Every hospital is focused on keeping patients free of pain, nausea and stress. However, as a hospitalized patient at Abbott Northwestern, you can request therapeutic massage to ease your stress, reflexology to help ground you, or music therapy to find sounds to support your healing.

For example, if you are having joint replacement surgery, you learn skills prior to your surgery to control pain and nausea, and then have acupuncture available afterwards to enhance your well-being.

I frequently provide acupuncture to patients after their joint replacement surgery. Reducing the pain and nausea they feel after surgery also allows them to nap more frequently, which helps with healing. And they like the sense it gives them. It calms them down. They come out of surgery with a sense of fight or flight. The acupuncture gives them a sense of calmness, even in the presence of pain. It’s also kind of an adventure to many of them, who have never experienced acupuncture!

If you or anyone you know ends up at Abbott Northwestern, it is important to know that these services are available to you. We even have a pre-hospital program to help people before they arrive prepare their minds to have a more positive outcome and less pain. You can access that by calling 612-863-6122.

Once you are in the hospital, you can simply request services from a nurse or physician. You will be seen in your room by one of the 21 inpatient practitioners who will provide this therapy to you at no charge to you or your insurance company.

The intense experience of being ill is viewed as a sacred journey you are taking and is be supported by nurses, doctors and practitioners of the Penny George Institute.

To prepare yourself to experience the therapies, first breathe slowly.  Inhale to the count of 2 exhale to the count of 4.  You are on your healing journey.