Q&A with Jane Reinish

July 28, 2015
Topics: Riley Staff Profiles

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Jane Reinish, Program Director for Integrative Medicine

Donors’ gifts through Riley Children’s Foundation have provided comfort to countless patients facing life-limiting diagnoses, by funding the new IMPACT (Integrative Medicine and Palliative Care Team) program. 

Today, we introduce you to a fascinating new member of that team, Jane Reinish, the Program Director for Integrative Medicine.

Q: Tell us about your background and what brought you to Riley Hospital for Children?

A: I arrived at Riley in October of 2014. I came from New York City. I am a born and bred New Yorker. I have traveled extensively in my previous career as a Licensed Massage Therapist within the entertainment industry. Medicine is my second career. I came to medicine as a direct result of the illness and subsequent death of a dear friend in NYC. While he was ill, I became frustrated that I was unable to do more, to help more. This led directly to my pursuit of a career in nursing. I have worked in a few different areas of nursing from pediatrics, to geriatrics, to hospice/palliative care, which is where I found my calling. In NYC, I had previously not only developed Integrative Medicine programs in hospitals, but also held the position as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse. I was instrumental in assisting with the development of a Palliative Care Program and Inpatient Hospice Residence with a local hospice/palliative care company. I thrive on the balance that Integrative Medicine brings to palliative care and hospice patients, families and caregivers.

Q: What are the types of services you provide to Riley patients and families?

A: We offer aromatherapy, massage therapy, MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), Reiki, therapeutic yoga, meditation, reflexology and acupuncture.

Q: What makes these services so uniquely effective in the Riley setting?

A: These services have been proven to be effective for many areas of a person’s well-being during hospitalization and beyond. These modalities offer a specialized type of support. The area of pain management is especially aligned with integrative medicine, as many of these techniques are an effective non-pharmacological measure to treat pain. Integrative medicine modalities are also at the forefront of medicine today to treat stress, anxiety, nausea and depression. What makes these services unique in the Riley setting, is quite simply, the small number of programs available in pediatrics today.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?

A: One of the things that truly brings me a special type of joy is when, after working long and hard with a patient, the therapies take hold and successfully provide symptom relief. That’s when I am able to witness the transformation from a child who may have been in distress, withdrawn, fearful, or experiencing discomfort to a child who is bright, engaged, smiling, happy and playful. It is very much like watching a beautiful flower bloom. To be witness to their freedom from distress is something to behold. 

Q: Can you share an example of a time when you felt your work made a big difference for a patient or family member?

A: The most recent patient that I am very proud of is a young boy who had a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. He had been demonstrating progression of disease, and was now struggling with anxiety which exacerbated his condition and negatively impacted his respiratory status. We began working with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, using the Jon Kabat Zinn model. We utilized the Body Scan method in which one brings their full attention to different parts of the body in a systematic manner. This trains the mind more in the here and now, and as such, anxiety really does not have a place in this equation. The young boy really enjoyed this and his symptoms improved. He was significantly better able to control his anxiety. This afforded him the ability to once again participate in social activities and life in general, which brought him great joy. 

One day, after working with the techniques for about two weeks, he attended a very public event, in a crowded arena. This event was something he had been looking forward to for a long time. The arena was crowded and warm. The young boy’s anxiety began to rise and he made use of his Body Scan Meditation and was able to quell his anxiety, and go on to thoroughly enjoy the show! His mother also would listen to the Body Scan Meditation with him, and this made for very special bonding! She was able to help him in a very special way which also created great intimacy.

Q: What is your message to donors who have supported the IMPACT program at Riley?

A: The message I have for donors is one of great gratitude. Your support has single-handedly created the ability to allow for this program to exist. Every measure of relief, every moment of peace gained by use of these modalities, is in direct relationship to your support.

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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