Hospice services are not only for the patient but also for the family of the patient. Relieving the physical, mental and emotional suffering of the family unit is tremendously important, and at the same time very complex.
Dr. Desmonette Hazly, Director of Social Medicine at Primary Hospice Care, has taken an integrative health approach to insure the comfort and focuses on quality of life of the hospice patients she serves. Hazly’s hospice integrative care program is composed of various wellness and complimentary medicine modalities and includes art, music and massage therapy, social interactive activities, pet therapy visits and a reading program that has trained volunteers read aloud to patients. The patients and their families enjoy all of these services, but it is the massage therapy program that has had the most impact on patients and their families, hospice staff and community partners.
In addition to her extensive academic background Hazly is also a certified medical massage therapist and she has successfully included this skill in her programs for the chronically and terminally ill. Hospice staff and partnering medical service professionals receive massage therapy training from Hazly to help them better serve the palliative care needs of their patients. They then in turn can provide direction and support for patient family members who want to learn how to provide comforting, caring, safe touch for their loved ones.
“Non-pharmacological approaches to alleviate pain and discomfort and increase relaxation are much-welcomed skills that all health care service providers should learn to help them better serve their patients.” states Robert Nayoan, Director of Patient Care Services, Primary Hospice Care. Family members also receive reflexology and Shiatsu (acupressure-based) massage applications to help them cope better with the stresses of caregiving.
Hazly also teaches integrative wellness self-care to medical and health care professionals to help them more effectively manage their day to day stress, improve their personal wellness, increase productivity and decrease compassion fatigue.
“Being able to alleviate the suffering of the sick and dying is a very special privilege. My goal is to always make the patient and their families as comfortable as possible and bring some serenity and calm into their lives at this stressful time.” Desmonette Hazly, MSW PhD