Acupuncture & Palliative Medicine

What is palliative medicine?

Palliative medicine is comfort care for people experiencing chronic and severe illnesses, pain, or degenerative conditions. The goals of palliative care are to provide comfort, dignity, symptom management, and patient autonomy, and avoid invasive or risky procedures that would reduce quality of living.

What is hospice?

Hospice is medical and comfort care at the end of life. One qualifies for hospice when a doctor gives a prognosis of 6 months or less to live, although many people live much longer once they enter hospice care. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and the highest quality of life for the patient and family through palliative care and symptom management. Many patients receive hospice care in their own homes.

Why acupuncture for palliative medicine and hospice?

Acupuncture is very effective for pain relief, calming anxiety, supporting digestion, and easing common complaints such as headaches, insomnia, allergies, and stress-related issues. Acupuncture does not have serious side-effects, does not interfere with medications, and is far less invasive than pharmaceuticals or surgeries for providing care at the end of life or with chronic illness.  In a hospice or home-care environment the acupuncturist can often treat the patient as well as family members and caregivers.

The project

Improving end-of-life care has been a passion of mine for a long time. I worked in hospice as a nurse’s assistant and massage therapist and wrote my masters thesis on acupuncture and palliative care. My ongoing project is to bring acupuncture as a holistic wellness support into hospice and palliative medicine. Currently I’m working with the administration at Assured Hospice in Olympia, WA to develop protocols and provide education about the benefits of acupuncture.

Palliative medicine and hospice organizations

I am a member of the National Association of Hospice & Palliative Care Acupuncturists and the Washington State Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. Other great organizations include the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Send a message to get in touch
Carly Samish, EAMP

Resources & Articles on End of Life Care