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Since Endeavour College teamed with Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital to launch an Australian-first acute care massage service to help heart and lung patients in April 2011, the program has become an entrenched and respected part of the hospital’s Cardiothoracic ward.
The massage program is staffed by third year musculoskeletal therapy students from Endeavour College, who complete a portion of their clinical hours in this placement. They work alongside physiotherapists and nursing staff to design a massage treatment targeted specifically to each patient’s needs.
“In less than twelve months our clinic has helped 250 heart and lung surgery patients make more comfortable recoveries and reduced their stress and pain levels during the critical post-surgical period,” said Endeavour College of Natural Health Director of Education Dr Nick Vardaxis.
“Through the clinic we have developed excellent relationships with the hospital’s physiotherapists who are increasingly referring their patients to our therapists to support their recovery. It is an excellent example of what is possible when complementary and conventional medicine work hand in hand to facilitate the best possible patient care,” Dr Vardaxis said.
“The clinic has certainly stimulated interest from other areas of the hospital and we hope to see it expand to support as many patients as possible.”
The clinic is managed by Lisa Casanelia, a Senior Lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Health. It is an initiative of the Integrative Medicine Education and Research Group introduced at the Hospital lead by Dr Lesley Braun and Professor Frank Rosenfeldt.
“It has been most gratifying to see our student therapists help recovering heart and lung surgery patients achieve greater mobility and reduced anxiety and pain through the use of massage. We have even been able to support carers of critically ill patients who have had to relocate or commute long distances, massage has been able to help reduce their stress levels,” said Ms Casanelia.
The launch of this clinic follows ground-breaking Australian research conducted by Dr Braun and Professor Rosenfeldt from the Alfred Hospital which showed massage was of great benefit in reducing pain, anxiety and tension levels in heart surgery patients.