Quirino Memorial Medical Center wins award for championing integrative medicine
It was given the Health and Wellness Initiative of the Year in the Healthcare Asia Awards.
Whilst traditional and complementary medicine has been around for thousands of years, very few facilities have institutionalised its services.
The Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) has been recognised as a pioneer amongst public hospitals in the provision of the unique service of Integrative Medicine in the most populated city of the Philippines.
QMMC believes that wellness can be achieved despite the chronicity of the condition. Knowing that wellness encompasses not only physical health but also mental and spiritual, integrative medicine interventions can be tailored to the needs of every patient.
In setting up the Integrative Medicine Clinic, QMMC was faced with several challenges. There was a lack of awareness and the unconventional traditional medicine was faced with a lukewarm reception. The department took steps in breaking the misconceptions by giving healthcare workers a first-hand experience of what integrative medicine could offer.
Meditation and yoga sessions with mindfulness, acupressure, acupuncture, and ventosa were some of the initial modalities introduced.
The department also began offering these modalities to in-patient referrals, mostly palliative care patients who sought not only physical comfort but spiritual comfort as well.
Amongst patients that have benefited from this include a mother who previously suffered from unrelenting low back pain, a nurse in her 50s who had recurrent shoulder pain for four years, and a cancer patient who experienced a transient loss of vision. They have all resorted to integrated medicine after exhausting all other possible treatments and have found relief and regained control over their health.
Spiritual care was provided at every opportunity, whilst those with specific pains were also given acupressure at the appropriate points. These interventions resulted in feelings of relaxation, better sleep, and wellness.
Other clinical units also began collaborating with the clinic to provide complementary medicine for special groups such as menopausal patients and the fatigued nursing staff.
The growing demand for this service prompted the opening of the Integrative Medicine Clinic to the general public.
For this initiative, QMMC was given the Health and Wellness Initiative of the Year – Philippines award in the recently concluded Healthcare Asia Awards.
This year, with its theme of Recognising Trailblazing Initiatives in the Healthcare Sector, the awards programme aims to honour hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers that have risen above the challenges and made a remarkable impact on their patients, most especially amidst the massive disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In giving this award, the judging panel took into consideration several of the achievements attained by QMMC.
It was recognised by the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care for being the only government facility in the National Capital Region to establish an Integrative Medicine Clinic.
Also noted were the provision of in-patient and out-patient integrative medicine services and the training of Integrative Medicine practitioners.
QMMC is committed to the continued improvement of its services. There is now a Healing Garden area currently being developed which will house medicinal plants and serve as a place to relax inside the hospital compound.
The hospital sees that though these services are beneficial, there is a very limited number of integrative medicine practitioners. This now opens an opportunity to engage and equip younger physicians in the practice of integrative medicine to ensure the sustainability of the programme.