Regenerative Medicine aims not only to repair or restore the function of cells, tissues or organs, but also the whole person. The latter is particularly important amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Regenerative approaches draw on the body’s natural abilities to heal, focus on establishing the healing environments and building new, healthy ways of functioning. These aspects of regenerative medicine may nurture healing in people who’ve contracted the virus, those who treat it and the broader community whose lives have suddenly been changed by the pandemic.
Creating safe, trusting environments
When people are diagnosed with COVID-19, their illness may go beyond physical afflictions to a breakdown of the mind and spirit. Some Coronavirus patients are immediately isolated, separating them from the people they love. That may trigger confusion, fear, anxiety and mistrust.
In a normal health care environment, patients might be soothed by welcoming faces and warm touches of medical professionals. But in the new world of a virus to which no one is immune, caregivers must wear personal protective equipment for their own safety. The face masks that allow patient and clinician to come together safely may also be a barrier that increases isolation and fear.
“It creates a new population of people who are traumatized,” says Victor Montori, M.D., an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic and expert leader for the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine. “This trauma is a response to the difficult and unbearable aspects of COVID-19. It manifests itself as emotional and physical responses. In addition to fostering conditions to prevent trauma, the regenerative approach to healing in this case might mean that as people recover from COVID, they go on to receive additional care from psychologists and social workers that would help them build trust to overcome their trauma.”
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