Practice Tips: Special Consideration for Seniors
The field of Energy Medicine includes an assortment of treatments that can benefit all age groups including the elderly. Depending upon the type of Energy Medicine you practice and your business goals, you might want to consider expanding your services to include a range of age groups, if you have not already. However, whether you currently treat the elderly or are interested in servicing this group, there are a few special liability management considerations to assess. You will likely want to adjust your treatments to allow for any physical limitations, consent and mental capacity issues.
One of the first items to put into place, and relevant to clients of all ages, is a signed informed consent from a potential senior client. However, for seniors, there are additional details that must be included in the document. Executing an informed consent agreement depends upon the health and sound mind of sound mind of a senior. This could make obtaining an informed consent turn into a delicate situation. Elderly clients might resent being deprived of their independence if an adult child has Power of Attorney (POA) and needs to sign off on the informed consent. These instances might be rare, but they are a possibility, and it is best to be prepared for them with a suitable form for these situations.
Additionally, for some seniors, an emergency form (refer to sample form available to EMPA members) is another essential document that might require an authorized adult to complete. Not your standard documentation of people to call in an emergency, but a form that includes other important contacts such as doctors, medication and insurance information. Your client intake might already include a section on insurance, but since many practitioners are paid out of pocket, it is a good idea to double up with the information than have nothing at all.
With physical limitations, another factor to consider for the elderly, a person could have challenges with getting up on a treatment table. For seniors, they would have mobility or dexterity problems that could make it difficult to lift themselves up onto a table. An adjustable treatment table, or one with a lift, can be the solution for these issues. If you are an established practitioner, investing in additional equipment might not be a sensible choice and it could also be a costly decision for a newly established practitioner, so cost-effective alternative could be to purchase a stepping stool as an aid. Assisting a senior up the steps onto the treatment table would be additional support to guide a fragile or stiff body.
Older clients could also benefit from placing a bolster or cushions to support a body and ease sensitive areas. Seniors could have arthritis or weakened conditions that can be protected by strategically placed support. As well, the placement of cushions to secure an older body from shifting around too much could be necessary. During treatment, keep an eye on the client to make sure there is no discomfort or loss of support.
You will want to use caution when exerting pressure on a senior’s body as there could be arthritic joints and sensitive skin. As we age, skin does become more fragile and easily bruised. Before starting any body work with an elderly client, ask them to point out any concerns they might have with touch and their tolerance for applied pressure.
Off the treatment table, for practitioners who hold group therapeutic sessions or conduct individual body work, there are some things to factor into a session. Consider the range of movement, strength and size of the older client. For individuals with restricted range of motion, consider including movement options a stiff or less flexible person can do. You wouldn’t want to put too much physical stress on undeveloped or weaker areas. As part of your intake process for this age group, find out if elderly clients in particular have had any joint replacements or vulnerable areas of the body. The spine can be an issue for some people who might have problems with degenerative disks or spinal fusions. In these cases, it would be best to replace certain poses and replace them with less strenuous positions.
Diversifying the type of clients you treat can open up new opportunities for your practice. However, you want to be prepared for the unique needs of these clients. Taking the correct measures to accommodate diverse age groups can help in making sure you protect yourself and your practice from a liability management perspective.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice or opinion. This general information is meant to raise questions, educate, create discussion and dialogue around the ethical and legal issues of teaching, learning, studying or practicing alternative and complementary energy healing modalities. You are advised to seek an attorney for any of your professional legal issues, concerns or needs.