Date of Publication


Project Team

Hendrika Maltby, Ph.D., RN, FACN & Jessilyn Dolan, RN


Purpose. Women with substance use disorder (SUD) are considered high-risk and face many barriers accessing health care. One common barrier is distrust of the traditional medical model. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) provides these women an opportunity to build self-care skills and resiliency. This project was designed to address the complex healthcare needs of mothers with SUD by adding CAM modules to a current self-care skills curriculum.

Methods. To assess feasibility, a pilot program was created for a residential facility in Burlington, Vermont. The pilot program consisted of weekly 60 minute sessions over the course of 10 weeks. There were five modules: an introduction to CAM; mindfulness practices; yoga; sleep hygiene; and herbal remedies. The modules were delivered as practice sessions and power point presentations for continued use within the facility’s curriculum. This project is defined as a quality improvement project. Data consisted of pre and post-implementation written surveys, and verbal and observational data collected from participants and staff during module implementation. Written surveys were anonymous. Following the pilot program, the CAM modules were modified based on collected data.

Results. Data demonstrated that women who participated had interest in learning CAM therapies. Verbal and observational data demonstrated integration of these therapies and techniques into aspects of daily life. The staff reported continued success of the program and ongoing modifications to the course materials as the program develops.

Conclusions. Providing CAM education to high-risk women in a residential setting is beneficial to the development of self-care skills.

Document Type


Available for download on Sunday, May 31, 2020