There is a unique situation for Reiki practitioners, and in fact, for Complementary practitioners in general that exists this year. So many times I am asked, (and i am seeing courses put together to assist Reiki practitioners in this area) - "how do we approach conventional doctors and hospitals?"
So here are two topics to think about -
1) CMS - The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services, the government agency that pays conventional health care providers, and to some extent regulates them - has identified a concern ..... something that is a national priority to change ..... and it involves how patients who suffer from dementia are treated in nursing homes. This issue is huge, and in the next year every nursing home in America will need to be concerned about this issue....... patients with advancing dementia often suffer fears, agitation, hallucination and aberrant behaviors ..... it is sad and it is a major human challenge, as well as a professional one. What has been happening is that physicians, well intentioned, have been prescribing "psychotropic medications" - that is pills - to stop the behaviors. And what is a nurse to do? A patient suffers from dementia, and they get agitated, they holler out, sometimes they hit or bite or scratch someone else and because of their disease they can't be "reasoned with." What to do? And what has most often been done is to prescribe and give a medication.
Over the past few years evidence has piled up that many of the medications used have no "evidence basis" for use in these situations - that is - conventional physicians are supposed to be "evidence based" and they are using medications here for situations where studies do not clearly support the usage --- well --- of course there can be honorable differences of opinions and the manufacturers may believe studies support usage - but bottom line it has been found that often such medications are used in cases where the FDA judges the medication "ineffective." Since the aggregate costs of these medications nation wide run into the billions of tax dollars ...... this has caught CMS' attention (as in billions of dollars, no evidence of benefit). But what has really changed the playing field is recent data that in some cases these medications in the elderly actually are thought to shorten life....... and so in some cases the FDA has "black boxed" these usages .... that is ordered docs not to prescribe them in certain circumstances ....... and ...... well ...... they are still being used ........
While the evidence supporting the use of Reiki to calm agitated patients is not "certain" - and mostly "needs more study" ..... what is evident is that conventional nursing facilities will need to attempt "non pharmacologic methods" to calm agitated patients ...... and that Reiki is low cost and low side effect (whether effective or not - i tend to think it is effective) and is thus more "evidence supported" than products that are high cost, felt to be ineffective, and in some cases labeled by the FDA as "harmful."
AMDA, the professional organization representing doctors in "the long term care continuum" is actively encouraging (without support of any specific modality) trying non pharmacologic remedies for agitated dementia .......
So .... consider offering your services to nursing facilities in this area ...... facilities that are aware of the torrent of regulatory initiative in this area should welcome Complementary modalities such as Reiki ......
2) If you are approaching Hospitals ...... remember that Hospitals are now based upon "short term stays" .... in many states 4 days in the Hospital will be viewed as too long ...... and this is a dilemma as - while Reiki can be offered for pre op surgical patients ..... while in the hospital there isn't much time to get to know people.
Here is what is new : from Oct 1, 2012 Hospitals will be penalized financially by Medicare if patients are readmitted to the Hospital within 30 days of discharge ...... it is a major concern to almost every Hospital in the country.
Hospitals are looking for programs to assist patients who have gone home ...... to succeed at home ...... so.....if you are looking to offer a program more likely to catch a Hospital administrator's interest, consider a program that might meet patients once at the Hospital, but most importantly help them at home ...... one of Reiki's strongest values is reducing worry and anxiety ...... and patients with less worry and anxiety (all other things being equal) are less likely to need to return to an Emergency Room.
This posting is pretty limited ..... it doesn't have any Reiki wisdom, and it doesn't have the joy of getting together for sharing with other Reiki folks, but it does tell you two areas where huge tidal waves of change will be impacting on the conventional health care system. Understanding the challenges that are being faced, and being prepared to offer programs that help in areas of concern, may help open a door.
May your method and your compassion have a chance to help others and make a difference.