Complementary Services

Special programs enhance quality of life

Kara’s Complementary Services offers a full array of special programs that bring quality of life to those with advanced illness. A variety of therapies — used together with conventional medicine — are designed to facilitate stress reduction, pain relief and distraction, opportunities for joy and healing of psycho-social issues for patients and their families.


There is definitely a correlation between the rhythm of music and the rhythm of the human body. Music has the ability to bring the body into harmony when it is stressed and can serve as a “gatekeeper” in controlling pain. Music works on the left side of the brain and blocks the neural transmitters that carry pain signals. This allows the right side of the brain to take over and create images and feelings of peace. Music encourages the body to release its own endorphins to help stop pain.

Kara’s talented and committed music therapists make regular visits to patient homes, and other facilities as requested. They also are trained in the use of music for relaxation and reminiscence. Songwriting projects are often used for life review and legacy
(pic of senior with music therapist)

Pet Therapy

Touching an animal can bring back memories and trigger discussion — sometimes in patients who haven’t spoken for months. Volunteers in Kara’s pet therapy program believe the best pain relief often comes when the mind is occupied with something comforting. Studies have shown that after 10 minutes of settling down together — pet and person — blood pressure drops for both.

Kara’s pet therapy volunteers are specially trained in pet visitations. After undergoing hospice volunteer training, they attend pet therapy orientation and pet evaluation. Pets are evaluated for their temperament and owners are evaluated for their ability to control their animals.
(Pic of senior with dog on lap)

Massage Therapy

Therapeutic massage is known for its contribution to pain and stress management and for evoking an overall relaxation response. Pain control is often a primary concern for individuals who have progressively debilitating diseases, and massage has proven useful as a therapy for any condition that includes a stress component.

The goal of our massage therapy program is to nurture and support clients as partners in their care. It employs slow rhythmic stroking, extremely light holds and circular strokes. The caregivers intuition and intention are stressed in imparting empathy and love. This service can be performed by volunteers who have been trained by a certified instructor.
(pic of massage therapist with senior)


Aromatherapy uses essential oils to benefit the mind, body and spirit. The oils may be calming, antiseptic, stimulating or meditative. In the hospice setting, aromatherapy is used for relaxation, restlessness and odor elimination from patient rooms.

Kara also uses specially blended lotion, designed to relieve terminal restlessness. This “Tranquility Lotion” contains the essential oils rosewood, myrrh, frankincense, ylang ylang and other essences in a very soothing base. Volunteers are trained to use these oils and lotions.