Add the coronavirus pandemic, and the chronically ill and terminally ill Minnesota residents will be even more isolated | mainpost

Add the coronavirus pandemic, and the chronically ill and terminally ill Minnesota residents will be even more isolated |  mainpost

The isolation that so many people have experienced has been one of the most significant effects of the pandemic. Local psychologists have reported an increase in clients experiencing anxiety and depression that can result from this isolation.

But there is one unreported, but significant, group that has been severely affected by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions: people with life-threatening or chronic health conditions.

Imagine that you are someone who has cancer, debilitating diabetes, COPD, or Parkinson’s disease. Then imagine that you won’t be able to leave your home, except for regular doctor’s appointments – many of which are drawn online – as you face your illness and the fear of contracting COVID-19.

These people are clients of ours at Pathways, A Healing Center.

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our organization It was founded in 1988 to provide free complementary health care and wellness services and programs such as acupuncture, grief circles, massage, and guided movement to people with life-threatening chronic conditions.

When the early days of the pandemic forced our doors to close, we wrestled with what to do, fearing our customers would face a high degree of isolation. In my 13 years as Pathways CEO, we’ve never experienced a crisis as widespread as the one we’ve been facing. Fortunately, with the full support of our staff and board of directors, we were able to launch a virtual services platform for complimentary and complementary healthcare services and programs.

I was glad we could pivot, but I worried: Will this meet the needs of our unusual client base? Before the pandemic, our research showed that our personalized services significantly improved people’s quality of life by reducing pain, anxiety and fatigue.

nTwo and a half years into a pandemic that never seems to end – with each new variant more transferable than the last – we wanted to understand how effective we are in meeting our customers’ needs.

New research by a researcher from the University of Arizona on the effectiveness of virtual Pathways service offerings shows that our virtual programs (Tai Chi, Meditation, Writing for Healing, and Life Coaching, to name a few), such as those offered in person (energy healing, yoga) achieved Equally powerful results, which positively and positively affected people’s quality of life.

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The new research findings — which are currently under peer review and due for publication later this year — show Pathways participants progressing from depression to happiness and stressful to empowerment, as well as another 16 pairs of before and after, such as Desperate to Hope and Broken to Holistic. Positive shifts like these are associated with healthy lifestyle changes to manage disease, reduce pain, and reduce hospitalizations.

Tim Thorpe

The authors conclude: “The successful shift to virtual programming, with similar results for positive change, suggests that a mixed model of virtual and personalized programming in the future may expand the scope of integrative services, beyond the limits of previous programming.”

BIt’s not just in search. Our numbers tell the same story, too. In 2020, 4,088 services are scheduled through Pathways’ virtual programming platform; In 2021, 5,345 services are scheduled – a 31% increase in the use of virtual services. So far in 2022, this trend continues, with an 18% increase in June compared to last June.

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Kate Jackson, a cancer survivor and former Pathways participant, who changed her career to becoming a health and wellbeing coach said After being diagnosed with cancer, she now leads the Pathways classes. “Accessibility is key. Chronically ill and caring people often don’t feel well – but virtual services mean they don’t have to leave home to stay connected, receive support and care.”

As the latest phase of the pandemic continues to escalate, it is important to let people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses who are feeling the effects of isolation know that they are not alone. And that there’s a free resource out there for them, and it’s here at http://www.pathwaysminneapolis.org.

In person or online, we are – and will be – here for them.

Tim Thorpe is the CEO of Pathways, A Healing Center.

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