Complementary and alternative health therapies (CATs) have gained increasing interest in the healthcare industry as an effective modality for promoting health and preventing disease. Nurses increasingly incorporate CATs into their practice, providing patients with more holistic care options. This article will discuss the types of CATs available, examples of how nurses can incorporate them into nursing practice, and evidence supporting their use.
Common complementary and alternative therapies in nursing practice
CATs are a wide variety of treatments often used by integrative health specialists to promote healing, improve overall health and wellness, and reduce symptoms associated with various medical conditions. CATs not only provide symptom relief but also help restore balance within the body’s systems. It is important for nurses to be aware of different types of CATs in their practice and how they can be utilized in patient care.
CATs could include mind-body therapies such as meditation and prayer or guided imagery techniques, which use visualization techniques to encourage relaxation. They may also include biologically based practices such as herbal medicine, manipulative, and body-based practices such as massage therapy or chiropractic treatment, and energy therapies like Reiki or Qigong.
Other therapies that fit into this category are things like visualization techniques that encourage relaxation and acupuncture, which uses needles inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate circulation. Evidence suggests that using these techniques can have beneficial results, including pain management, reduced stress levels, and overall improved quality of life.
Integrating CATs into nursing care
Incorporating CATs into nursing care requires careful assessment of patient needs and preferences. A holistic approach to patient assessment enables nurses to identify the most appropriate therapies that align with the patient’s goals and values. Understanding cultural beliefs and values surrounding CATs ensures that the selected therapies respect the patient’s background.
Nurses should also maintain open lines of communication with other members of the healthcare team and make referrals to specialists when necessary. Creating a coordinated care plan that includes CATs helps to ensure that all aspects of the patient’s well-being are addressed, leading to improved health outcomes.
Ongoing education — such as courses offered by the University of Indianapolis — and skill development are other crucial factors for nurses seeking to incorporate CATs into their practice. This can be achieved through ongoing education opportunities such as workshops or certifications. Staying current with research in the field of CATs allows nurses to provide the best possible care while promoting the integration of these therapies into mainstream healthcare settings.
The use of complementary and alternative therapies has the potential to improve patient outcomes, making them an important part of nursing practice today. Nurses should explore CATs and how they can be integrated into patient care to provide holistic, evidence-based care that is mindful of safety and ethical considerations. Now is the time for nurses to take action by building their knowledge base, engaging with other healthcare professionals, and expanding their skills in this ever-evolving field.