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Allina Health study shows holistic nursing relieves pain and stress for patients and caregivers

MINNEAPOLIS 10/27/2014

A new program to teach holistic and integrative techniques to nurses at The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children's has received international recognition. An article about the program appears in this month's issue of the International Journal of Childbirth Education.

"We found that with an increased use of integrative therapies, there is a corresponding decrease in symptoms in the Mother Baby patients," said Julie Streeter, a registered nurse and lead clinical aromatherapist for the Penny George Institute. According to research conducted at the Penny George Institute, nurses who administer aromatherapy to their patients have seen a 32 to 50 percent reduction in nausea, anxiety and pain.

Allina Health researchers found improved patient outcomes related to pain and nausea using integrative therapies. But could holistic therapies help care givers?

"As patient care loads increase for nurses, the level of stress has skyrocketed, sparking changes in healthcare across the nation," says Susan Arnold, nurse educator for the Penny George Institute. "Stress is a major contributor to burnout. Patients are more complex with a higher risk for complications and often require more complex technology in their care. More than ever, there is a need for hands-on care to help patients relax and heal."

The Penny George Institute trainers developed this program with a dual purpose: to help nurses manage their own physical and emotional stress to create a sense of wellbeing and provide them with effective tools to empower their patients to manage stress and create wellbeing.

"Nurses are notorious for caring for everyone else around them but often neglect to give themselves that same care. We found that childbirth providers and educators who practice self-care end up having more energy and presence to care for patients and families," Arnold said.

In written evaluations, nurses expressed surprise at how easy the techniques were to learn and said they were excited to put the techniques into practice both for their personal wellness routine and for patient care.

About Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing

Founded in 2003, the Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing's mission is to combine leading medical practice with ancient healing wisdom to optimize health and wellness in the whole person—mind, body and spirit.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

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