Context: A rapidly growing body of evidence shows the positive benefits of integrative medicine (IM) services for patients in hospital-based settings. IM therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, meditation and relaxation, and animal-assisted therapy, reduce symptom burden of pain, anxiety, and stress and increase sense of well-being and satisfaction in hospitalized patients. Current challenges facing hospitals are to move beyond proof-of-concept studies and to provide hospital-based IM therapies. Objective: The aim of our quality improvement project was to develop, implement, and evaluate a feasible, scalable, hospital-based “best practice” model for increasing demand for IM services and optimizing their delivery. Design: A multidisciplinary team convened to use quality improvement tools to outline a process for providing IM services. Setting: A large academic medical center in the Midwestern United States. Participants: IM leadership staff, IM providers, nurses, hospital team members, support staff, and quality improvement staff. Interventions: After determining baseline levels of demand and service delivery, we sought to (1) increase nursing staff awareness of available IM services; (2) improve communication between IM providers and nurses; and (3) reinforce communication at the level of nurse supervisors, patients, and family members. Main Outcome Measures: We recorded the numbers and types of IM services ordered at baseline and postimplementation and determined the new delivery rate of requested services. Results: We noted an increase in the number of IM orders, percentage of delivered IM services, and percentage of patients who reported that IM services improved their hospital stay.
- Animal-assisted therapy
- Inpatient integrative medicine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine