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Massage Therapy, an Integral Part of Integrative Health Program at Primary Hospice Care


Hospice services are not only for the patient but also for the family of the patient. Relieving the physical, mental and emotional suffering of the family unit is tremendously important, and at the same time very complex.

It is the massage therapy program that has had the most impact on patients and their families, hospice staff and community partners.

GTD Desmonette Hazly, MSW PhD GTD caregivers touch staff education 1

Dr. Desmonette Hazly is the Chair of Integrative Health and Wellness at Greet the Day and has been with organization since 2013. She holds graduate degrees in social work, public policy and a Ph.D. in International Politics and Policy. She has developed community health programs for the VA hospital in West Los Angeles, International Red Cross and UNICEF.


Hazly was awarded a 2016/2017 fellowship to study international integrative health methods and arts in medicine and public health. She will be collaborating with medical and health care abroad and implementing integrative health programs for health and medical facilities throughout Southern California, including a dance-based health and wellness programming she is creating with the assistance of the dance department at Cerritos College.

In addition to her extensive academic background Hazly is also a certified medical massage therapist and she has successfully included this skill in her programs for the chronically and terminally ill. Hospice staff and partnering medical service professionals receive massage therapy training from Hazly to help them better serve the palliative care needs of their patients. They then in turn can provide direction and support for patient family members who want to learn how to provide comforting, caring, safe touch for their loved ones.

“Non-pharmacological approaches to alleviate pain and discomfort and increase relaxation are much-welcomed skills that all health care service providers should learn to help them better serve their patients.” states Robert Nayoan, Director of Patient Care Services, Primary Hospice Care. Family members also receive reflexology and Shiatsu (acupressure-based) massage applications to help them cope better with the stresses of caregiving.


Hazly also teaches integrative wellness self-care to medical and health care professionals to help them more effectively manage their day to day stress, improve their personal wellness, increase productivity and decrease compassion fatigue.


“Being able to alleviate the suffering of the sick and dying is a very special privilege. My goal is to always make the patient and their families as comfortable as possible and bring some serenity and calm into their lives at this stressful time.” Desmonette Hazly, MSW PhD

“It is very important to us that we have various methods available to care for our patients to address pain alleviation, anxiety, and other conditions associated with the dying process.


Our patients have found the massage therapy program to be very effective and request the service regularly. It has been a very welcomed addition to our hospice care program.”


Evangeline Booth, Hospice Services Administrator, Primary Hospice Care

Dr. Desmonette Hazly, Director of Social Medicine at Primary Hospice Care, has taken an integrative health approach to insure the comfort and focuses on quality of life of the hospice patients she serves.  Hazly’s hospice integrative care program is composed of various wellness and complimentary medicine modalities and includes art, music and massage therapy, social interactive activities, pet therapy visits and a reading program that has trained volunteers read aloud to patients. The patients and their families enjoy all of these services, but it is the massage therapy program that has had the most impact on patients and their families, hospice staff and community partners.