Filling the gap for non-phamacological interventions for pain management in our current healthcare system

The LA2050 Grants Challenge support would support Heart Touch to play an important role in filling the unmet need for non-pharmacological interventions for pain management in the healthcare system. As a leader in the field of massage therapy, Heart Touch is poised to lead the effort to train healthcare providers in non-pharmacological treatment strategies for those dealing with chronic pain. With your support, the LA-based Heart Touch will be able to lead the nation-wide effort to use compassionate touch therapy in filling this unmet need.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

In search of a way to reduce and manage pain, many patients in the U.S. have turned to addictive prescription medications such as opioids, which reduce the intensity of pain. According to a CDC National Health Statistics (2019), almost 218,000 people died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids from 1999 to 2017.

In response to the opioid epidemic, The Joint Commission, an independent non-profit organization that accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S., introduced standards for organizations to improve their care for patients with pain. In August 2017, the Joint Commission published new and revised pain assessment and management standards that will now apply to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals. The new standards require hospitals to provide patients with non-pharmacological pain treatment options, such as massage therapy.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

Since 1995, Heart Touch has been at the forefront of a movement to bring therapeutic and mindful touch to health care and has become a national leader by integrating mindfulness and empathetic touch therapy into healthcare settings.

Heart Touch has developed groundbreaking programs for children, seniors, and those with chronic, communicable and terminal illnesses. Heart Touch programs have been shown to help to manage chronic conditions, reduce pain and improve patient outcomes through the skillful deployment of proven mindful touch therapies provided by trained professionals who volunteer their time to serve those unable to afford these treatments.

Since 1995, Heart Touch has trained more than 6,700 bodywork professionals, who have provided more than 23,000 free massages to thousands of the most vulnerable members of our community. Heart Touch has educated and certified more than 2,600 health care practitioners, who have provided thousands of hours of care to their patients.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 520

Indirect Impact: -

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Heart Touch will provide tools for healthcare providers that they can incorporate into their current skillset and use at the bedside with their patients to create a sense of nurturing and mindfulness without taking additional time or effort. The project will lead to desirable outcomes for both caregivers and as well as increased patient involvement, a sense of empathy, decreased symptoms and overall increased patient satisfaction. The program is designed to enhance healthcare providers' satisfaction with their work, improve the caregiver-patient relationship, to improve collaborative teamwork and to advance the quality of healthcare.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

During the next two years, Heart Touch will provide trainings at four sites for new caregiver groups in Los Angeles. Heart Touch expects to train 520 RNs and CNAs over a period of two years. Heart Touch strives for both improved outcomes for patients and healthcare providers.

The projected outcomes for healthcare providers, patients, and their families include:

- Improved job satisfaction (Provider)

- A decrease in compassion fatigue and depersonalization (Provider)

- Greater attention to patients' personal and psychosocial concerns (Provider)

- Improved active listening skills with other healthcare providers, patients and their families (Provider)

- Enhanced empathetic connections with patients (Provider)

- Enhanced awareness of the effects of one’s emotional reactivation the healthcare provider/patient/team member relationships (Provider)

- Greater confidence in supporting people with a variety of challenging medical conditions, in particular, chronic conditions, end-of-life care and conditions with complex psychosocial issues (Provider)

- Enhanced sense of meaning from healthcare relationships, creating a greater sense of satisfaction for healthcare providers, patients, and patient family members (Provider)

- Reduced stress in workplace (Provider)

- Respond more effectively in communicating about loss and anticipatory grief (Provider)

- Improved quality of care (Patient)

- Increased patient satisfaction (Patient, Caregiver)

- Decreased symptoms (Patient)

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Healthcare access

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Strategy assistance and implementation