Complementary and Integrative Healthcare in a Long-term Care Facility: A Pilot Project.

Roni Evans, Corrie Vihstadt, Kristine Westrom, Lori Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: The world's population is aging quickly, leading to increased challenges of how to care for individuals who can no longer independently care for themselves. With global social and economic pressures leading to declines in family support, increased reliance is being placed on community- and government-based facilities to provide long-term care (LTC) for many of society's older citizens. Complementary and integrative healthcare (CIH) is commonly used by older adults and may offer an opportunity to enhance LTC residents' wellbeing. Little work has been done, however, rigorously examining the safety and effectiveness of CIH for LTC residents. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this work is to describe a pilot project to develop and evaluate one model of CIH in an LTC facility in the Midwestern United States. METHODS: A prospective, mixed-methods pilot project was conducted in two main phases: (1) preparation and (2) implementation and evaluation. The preparation phase entailed assessment, CIH model design and development, and training. A CIH model including acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy, guided by principles of collaborative integration, evidence informed practice, and sustainability, was applied in the implementation and evaluation phase. CIH services were provided for 16 months in the LTC facility. Quantitative data collection included pain, quality of life, and adverse events. Qualitative interviews of LTC residents, their family members, and LTC staff members queried perceptions of CIH services. RESULTS: A total of 46 LTC residents received CIH care, most commonly for musculoskeletal pain (61%). Participants were predominantly female (85%) and over the age of 80 years (67%). The median number of CIH treatments was 13, with a range of 1 to 92. Residents who were able to provide self-report data demonstrated, on average, a 15% decline in pain and a 4% improvement in quality of life. No serious adverse events related to treatment were documented; the most common mild and expected side effect was increased pain (63 reports over 859 treatments). Qualitative interviews revealed most residents, family members and LTC staff members felt CIH services were worthwhile due to perceived benefits including pain relief and enhanced psychological and social wellbeing. CONCLUSION: This project demonstrated that with extensive attention to preparation, one patient-centered model of CIH in LTC was feasible on several levels. Quantitative and qualitative data suggest that CIH can be safely implemented and might provide relief and enhanced wellbeing for residents. However, some aspects of model delivery and data collection were challenging,resulting in limitations, and should be addressed in future efforts. Publisher: Abstract available from the publisher. Publisher: Abstract available from the publisher. PMCID: PMC4311563 [Available on 2016-01-01] PMID: 25694848 [PubMed]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-27
JournalGlob Adv Health Med.
StatePublished - Jan 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Complementary and Integrative Healthcare in a Long-term Care Facility: A Pilot Project.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this