Background Complementary therapies are becoming routinely offered in hospices and other healthcare settings throughout the UK with as many as 51% of patients accessing therapies (Posadzki et al., 2013). However, little objective data about effectiveness exists making them difficult to justify in an evidence-based healthcare system. This study used the validated MYCAW tool (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing) in an attempt to explore the value of massage, aromatherapy and reflexology in a range of patients and carers (Jolliffe et al., 2014; Polley, 2007; Seers, 2009).
Aims The aim of the project was two-fold:
1. To assess the practicalities of implementing MYCAW in a hospice-setting
2. To assess the use of MYCAW following an intervention to improve its use.
Methods Over a one-year period, 98 patients and carers were assessed using MYCAW pre- and post-complementary therapies.
Results Complete data was only available for 32% of subjects. Incomplete data resulted from failure to record unique identifier on the MYCAW form (6%), clients failing to attend all of their scheduled therapies (55%) and patient death resulting in a failure to record a second set of MYCAW data (7%). Because the data were limited, a new protocol was implemented in the hope of improving the use of MYCAW. An electronic diary system was introduced with prompts for all first and last MYCAW. Meetings were held with all therapists to reinforce the importance of MYCAW. We also created ‘appointment packs’ containing MYCAW forms to further prompt therapists. As a result of this intervention, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the number of completed MYCAW forms both pre- and post-therapy. Early data suggest that MYCAW is a useful tool to assess client-defined worries.
Conclusion The data suggest complementary therapies are an effective way of reducing patients’ and carers’ concerns in a hospice-setting.