Pacific College Contributes to Hospice Care

Hospice care is simultaneously one of the most difficult and important aspects of the medical field. Hospice care provides trained individuals that care for the elderly, terminally ill, or incapacitated patient. The type of care the hospice worker may provide can vary from the job of a licensed nurse to massage therapist, to someone willing to simply visit with the patient and provide company and comfort. With the PCOM hospice externship, students have the unique opportunity of working with terminally ill patients in collaboration with physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and bereavement counselors in a beautiful facility administering palliative medical care.

Enhancing Hospice Care with Complementary Therapies

The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine recently published a study on hospice care and patient benefit.  The research focused on the terminally ill patient as well as a study partner (usually a spouse). The results of this study overwhelmingly condone massage as the best course of complementary hospice care. In this study, the patients were able to choose which treatment they preferred to receive in the beginning of the research. Not only did the majority of patients choose massage over guided meditation or friendly visits, the evidence suggests that therapeutic massage over an extended end-of-life period may offer enhanced benefit to terminally ill patients; benefits such as pain relief and emotional tension reduction.

PCOM’s Role in Training Hospice Care Professionals

In addition to training skilled professional massage and acupuncture practitioners; Pacific College of Oriental Medicine’s MSTOM and Doctoral programs can also train students for this kind of hospice work. PCOM has served at the San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine for over 10 years. Students complete a 7.5-week rotation with two shifts per week. PCOM’s externship program sets students up with a hospice organization and gives them hands on experience at real sites with professionals active in both the field of Oriental medicine and hospice care.

For more information on hospice care and PCOM externships, please call Pacific College at 800-729-0941 ext 107 or visit us at

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