Creating a Therapeutic Environment – Strategies for Success

It is important to remember that laser therapy is a noninvasive modality of medical care. In turn, it is just as important to design a treatment area to be as therapeutic as the treatment itself. Doing so will create an atmosphere closer to a fear-free practice, beneficial not only to the patient, but the client and laser operator as well.

Our primary concern deals with providing medical care on the leading edge of medicine in a safe environment. Whenever a therapy laser is used, any door leading in or out of the treatment area is labelled with a sign indicating that laser therapy is being performed in this area. Within the treatment room, the laser operator and patient will be wearing laser-safe eyewear, as well as anyone else present in the treatment room. Oftentimes, the laser-safe Doggles™ used to protect the patient’s eyes actually have a soothing and calming effect for the patient.

Laser Treatment_Dog Laying DownThe majority of patients receiving laser therapy will have some level of discomfort and mobility impairment, so it is important to remember that these patients would benefit from an easy-to-navigate treatment area. A variety of patients can be effectively treated with a few options for treatment positioning: the floor, a treatment table about waist high, or a raised platform large enough to accommodate the patient and laser operator. Regardless of whichever treatment positioning is chosen, it is crucial that all treatments be done with a comfortable substrate for the patient to be on. A popular option is to use a thick and comfortable fleece. Rolls of these can be purchased and cut to size for any treatment design. They are durable, provide a comfortable environment for the patient, and enhance the therapeutic setting. Also, the fleece is effective in wicking away urine when dealing with incontinent patients. In contrast, performing laser therapy on old, frayed, stained towels detracts from the therapeutic environment.

Some practices also utilize the benefits of white noise in the background, as well as natural lighting by having sky lights installed. The use of aromatherapy has also been documented but its use remains a personal choice for each practice. While it has been shown that some smells like vanilla or mint can have a calming effect, we should remember that the sense of smell is closely associated to the limbic system. Thus, what may be a benign or soothing smell to one person may actually bring up negative memories for someone else.

Laser Treatment_Dog SittingSetting apart an area which is quiet and has little traffic is the perfect setting for laser therapy treatments. The entire experience from check in to check out should be a positive and therapeutic experience for all of those involved. An adept laser operator has a non-threatening body language and adjusts the treatment positioning and delivery as the patient’s body language indicates. A good operator will also be comfortable in discussing the modality and the patient’s progression with the client since the owner is usually present for these treatments. Involving the client for the treatments enhances the fear-free setting for the patient, which in turn enables the operator to deliver an optimal treatment.
The advent of laser therapy promotes a fear-free setting for the patients.

The ability for operators to deliver these treatments is as therapeutic for the operator as it is for the patients entrusted to our care. Designing a therapeutic treatment environment is easily achieved and will greatly enhance the effectiveness.

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January 2017
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