In August 2017, Cassandra Thomas found herself in Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s ER with an off-kilter equilibrium, the inability to say her ABCs and weakness on the entire left side of her body.
Initially suspected to have suffered a stroke, Thomas moved from acute care to inpatient rehabilitation after several days. Lisa Goodman, integrative care coordinator at Sharp Grossmont, met with Thomas and provided Healing Touch, an energy therapy that helps strengthen and balance the human and environmental energy fields. She also helped Thomas with guided imagery, a natural thought process that encourages thoughts that can be seen, heard, smelled or tasted, to help patients relax.
Thomas’ condition worsened and she was left unable to talk, move or swallow for 25 days. During that time, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Goodman would soon become a tremendous resource and friend to Thomas during her hospital stay.
“I followed her through most of her journey, and even continued while she was minimally responsive,” says Goodman, adding that they developed a “yes” or “no” communication system to help Thomas relax, and allow Goodman to treat her, during her most difficult days.
With Goodman at the helm, Sharp Grossmont is now offering integrative healing to patients who are interested. Integrative healing is a set of treatments that enhances traditional methods and provides a different level of support for patients while they are hospitalized.
“Often, patients do not rest while they are being treated in the hospital, which can increase stress, anxiety and in some cases, pain,” says Goodman. “Our focus is on creating a healing environment that supports patients during a difficult time.”
In addition to Healing Touch and guided imagery, Sharp Grossmont also offers reiki, a Japanese energy therapy for conditions such as stress, chronic pain, and the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy; and comfort massage for hands, which focuses on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients. In addition to these treatments, Sharp Grossmont is looking to add aromatherapy and music therapy to its repertoire.
Thomas’ journey included rehabilitation — necessary to regain her vocal and mobility skills — and the philosophy of Healing Touch integrated firmly into that treatment.
“They told me if I relax, my body will heal quickly, and help release tension so that I can move better,” Thomas says. She had practiced meditation in the past, and as a patient, she was drawn to the idea of learning practices and treatments that she could take with her to use at home.
“My sessions with Lisa helped me to take my mind off of stuff, and help me accept things for the way they are,” she says. “I learned how to help myself heal, so everything happens for a reason.”
For the news media: To talk with Lisa Goodman about integrative care at Sharp Grossmont Hospital for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.