Imagine walking into an ER and having the option of choosing Acupuncture as well as medication. Still being able to be evaluated by an ER physician, going through the diagnostic scanning, but not having to start with medications. Instead having the option of trying a holistic modality, that not only takes care of your pain and concerns, but also addresses your whole system, releives your stress and anxiety, balances your emotions, and gives you more energy and a sense of wellbeing. All that from an ER visit!
The new guidelines of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in 2015 suggest use of integrative medicine including Acupuncture for pain management prior to pharmacological intervention.
The opioid addiction in America is not a myth and often it starts and is reinforced in the Emergency Departments. In the past ten years of working as an ER nurse I have seen thousands of people begging for percocet, morphine and valium. Most of them being dependent on it after few uses and having a hard time returning to their previous lives.
Here is a recent story on a New Jersey hospital that is trying to decrease its opioid use for the same reason:
As a healthcare worker with the knowledge that other options besides the heavy use of narcotics, anti-nausea, anti-acids and anti-anxiety drugs exist, I cannot sit silent and observe the failure of the system we have created and been part of.
My dream and vision today is a healthcare system where Acupuncture is offered in every single Emergency Department. I am starting from the hospital where I currently work. I have proposed a feasibility study to use Acupuncture for treatment of pain in low acuity patients who present with acute or chronic musculoskeletal and joint pain. My proposal has been approved by the Medical and Nursing Directors of ER.
I have been working as an ER nurse for the past ten years and after becoming familiar with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine six years ago, there is not one day in the ER where I see patients who could totally avoid the side effects and invasive administration of drugs if they had Acupuncture available to them.
100 of the Urgent Care Patients that meet the inclusion after Triage are offered to be part of the Acupuncture study. They receive a consent form and a survey evaluating their pain and stress level prior to the treatment. Each patient receives a separate Chinese Medicine Diagnosis based on the palpation of pulse and body, and observation of the tongue and presenting problem. Afterwards 10 to 20 sterile Acupuncture needles are placed in the specific points related to their presenting condition by a Licensed Acupuncturist. The needles remain in the body for 20 to 40 minutes and then disposed in the sharp containers. After the treatment a second survey is offered to the patient asking to rate their pain and stress post‐treatment and if they would like to try Acupuncture again. The results is compared with discharge pain scale of the control group who do not receive Acupuncture during their ED visit.
In addition, the ER staff will be offered to visit the Acupuncturist during their break times. They will be given a consent form and then receive the NADA protocol, five Acupuncture needles in each ear, which is used for stress relief and detox, while seated or lying down. They will remain 15 to 30 minutes with the needles. Their stress level will be documented pre and post treatment.
Hundreds of studies show the effectiveness of Acupuncture in pain management. Acupuncture is increasingly used in pain clinics, VA hospitals for patients with trauma, and for Cancer treatments’ side effects such as pain, nausea and toxicity.
According to Joint Commission’s pain management standards of 2015, health care facilities are encouraged to use non‐pharmacollogic approaches instead of relying solely upon conventional drug‐based medicine.
“Clinical experts affirmed that treatment strategies may consider both pharmacologic and non‐pharmacologic approaches… The following examples are not exhaustive, but strategies may include the following: non‐pharmacologic strategies: physical modalities (for example, acupuncture therapy, chiropractic therapy, osteopathic manipulative therapy, massage therapy, and physical therapy), relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.”
From “Revisions to Pain Management Standard Effective January 1, 2015”
According to WHO Acupuncture in treatment of pain is comparable with morphine without the adverse effects.
There is no monetary compensation for participants in the study itself, however many of the patients are from under-served and immigrant communities, and this will be an opportunity for them to become familiar with a holistic modality of treatment besides relying on medication. Once use of Acupuncture becomes more acceptable in other Emergency Departments across the city, more and more people will become in contact with this ancient form of healing and will benefit from it on all levels of their healthcare.
This study is great for Acupuncturists, since more and more people will become in contact and familiar with the benefits of Acupuncture. Especially in under‐served communities where access to health care is usually limited to the hospital setting. I am hoping to communicate with local Community Acupuncture clinics and use them as a referral system for patients who become interested in trying acupuncture on a regular basis. Also using Acupuncture in the hospital setting will create more education among the staff, the doctors and nurses will gain close experience on the benefits of Acupuncture and how it works and move towards integrating holistic modalities into their care.
Hospitals are noticing the patients satisfaction going higher with integration of holistic modalities. There is three or four times more clinician-patient time and interaction with use of CAM (Complimentary Integrative Medicine) therapies compared to Allopathic visits.
According to NIH in the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM. The majority of them are paying out of pocket for these expenses.
In addition, hospitals are facing closing and increase competition. To include the CAM therapies and increase patient satisfaction is shown as an assured way of attracting more patients into the hospital.
Insurance companies are becoming more aware of the use of Acupuncture in reducing hospital stay and expenses. To include Acupuncture as part of an Emergency Department visit can be beneficial for insurances in reducing the use of resources and additional visits or prescriptions.
We are using your contributions for the study time period of six months, one day a week of providing Acupuncture in the Emergency Department by a Licensed Acupuncturist. The funding will cover the salary of the practitioner, the marketing and the research team, as well as the purchase of necessary supplies and equipments.
Founder: Maryam Mehrjui, RN, LAc
PATIENTS: Show the world you care about this problem and want it solved. In return we will do our best to solve it and know we are doing it for you.
Patients: Experience a half hour consultation by phone, including dietary and life style advice based on Chinese Medicine principles.
PATIENTS: Experience a one hour Acupuncture treatment in the Bikram Yoga Community Clinic. Available in New York.
Patients: Receive a gift bag of essential oils with relaxing and soothing properties.
PATIENTS - Receive a gift bag of essential oils with relaxing and soothing properties, and a half-hour consultation by phone, including dietary and life style advice based on Chinese Medicine principles.
Doctors/ Acupuncturists: Help Your patients get better faster with Acupuncture and show the world you care about this problem and want it solved. In return we will do our best to solve it and know we are doing it for you. Here and on our website, in perpetuity, we will list you and your practice as PIONEER SPONSORS with our sincere thanks.
Organizations: Receive a one hour lecture on Acupuncture, how it works, and what it is used for. Followed by a half hour group auricular acupuncture treatment for stress reduction and rejuvenation for your staff. Offer in New York only.
Partners- BECOME a PILOT Site- Receive a package of 3 private 60-minute treatment of choice: Acupuncture or Massage (Polarity including Cranio-Sacral balancing). Available in New York only. In addition, here and on our website, in perpetuity, we will list you and your practice as PIONEER SPONSORS with our sincere thanks.
Partners - BECOME a PILOT Site - Receive a package of 5 private 90-minute treatment of choice: Acupuncture, Massage (Polarity including Cranio-Sacral balancing) or Facial Rejuvenation. Available in New York only. In addition, here and on our website, in perpetuity, we will list you and your practice as PIONEER SPONSORS with our sincere thanks.
HOSPITALS: Show the world you care about this problem and want it solved. In return we will do our best to solve it and know we are doing it for you. Here and on our website, in perpetuity, we will list you and your practice as INSTITUTIONAL SPONSORS with our sincere thanks.
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