UTMC offers massages, comfort to surgery patients’ families

October 12, 2012 | Features, UToday
By Samantha Watson

UT Medical Center staff members are doing more than just caring for patients. Through a new massage therapy initiative, they also are comforting families and friends waiting for loved ones in surgery.

Massage therapist Emily Snyder worked her magic on a patient’s family member at UT Medical Center.

“It is the caring part of it all — the compassion,” said Arlene Ford-Bond, recovery room manager at UTMC. “Our mission speaks of improving the human condition. This is a part of the human condition that is often forgotten.”

UT Medical Center is the first hospital in the city to offer massages to patients’ families. They are given by licensed massage therapists in the waiting area for the main operation room, which is located on the second floor above the hospital lobby.

Massages are given Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. Ford-Bond said she hopes to expand these hours to other days, but for now these were chosen because longer and more stressful surgeries are performed during those times.

The massage therapy initiative is the third of its kind at the hospital after Dr. Scott Scarborough, former senior vice president and UTMC executive director and now provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, made an appeal to the managers to turn the mundane into the memorable.

The hospital began giving pediatric patients bears with cards that read “Someone at UTMC cares for you” and giving thank-you cards to patients with signatures from caregivers.

Aug. 30 was the therapy’s inaugural day, and Ford-Bond said that she believes it was a complete success.

“We had a family here, and their loved one was scheduled to be in surgery for 10 hours,” Ford-Bond said. “It was perfect. They were just elated to have this service.”

In order to make this service a possibility, Ford-Bond had to work with UTMC’s legal team to make sure that it met the hospital’s safety and privacy standards.

Ford-Bond said the service would not be possible without the teamwork and collaboration of Health and Safety, Infection Control, the Legal and Purchasing departments, and the Ambulatory Surgery Service Excellence Team.

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