Introduction Mindfulness Meditation involves paying attention to our mind and body moment by moment, being aware of what arises without judgement.
Experience and evaluation demonstrated that some patients receiving one to one mindfulness meditation failed to achieve their identified goals due to difficulty in committing to regular meditation practice when at home. They felt the traditional framework of the 8 week course would be to onerous.
Aim To ascertain patient / carer experiences of attending a 4 week course of 1 h structured, group mindfulness meditation sessions.
Method Patients and their carers referred for meditation practice were invited to attend four 1 h weekly structured group mindfulness meditation sessions. Each attendee was requested to complete a Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing questionnaire prior to first attendance and again following the final session.
Results 2 groups, each consisting of 3 patients and their carers attended. Regular attendance and goals were achieved, as was regular and committed practice at home. They valued the mutual support from other attendees, the positive sharing of experiences – including the challenges of practice.
Discussion The results demonstrate that the 4 session course fulfilled patient identified outcomes and was felt by attendees not to be too onerous.
Conclusion Running a course over a number of weeks which requires regular attendance by patients can be a challenge in palliative care settings. My experience suggests that it is possible to cover the essence of Mindfulness Meditation in 4 sessions.
Future studies could compare outcomes of an 8 week and 4 week course.
Future practice could consider: introductory Mindfulness Meditation days; and regular meditation drop-in sessions to support regular home practice.
Knowing of sessions for patients enhances staff awareness and interest in the process of Mindfulness Meditation.
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