Background Complementary Therapy (CT) is widely used in hospices; however the backing research on its efficacy has been somewhat limited. CT can be understood as the bridge between the medical model and alternative therapies. Yet this profession has struggled to gain respect in modern medicine and it is debatable whether Complementary Therapists are seen as equal to other MDT members. Against this background a team of hospice Complementary Therapists have been gathering evidence of their clinical input with a view to assessing and demonstrating its efficacy.
Aims To conduct a wide scale evaluation of CT treatments provided across all services to assess the impact on patient care and for a range of symptoms. Results to guide future evidence based treatment management (the right treatment at the right time).
Methods Patients, using an adapted visual analogue scale, rated their symptoms pre and post CT input. Results, separated into symptom categories, were analysed over a three year period.
Results 1321 patient reported outcomes were collected. After data cleansing, 1217 treatment episodes were reviewed
On average, patient symptoms improved by 2.13 on the 10 point adapted VAS scale which is statistically significant
Pain, breathlessness, anxiety and nausea gained the highest score and were perceived to have the most benefit by patients
Constipation, fatigue, insomnia and appetite had very poor outcomes.
Conclusions We believe the above results demonstrate that CT can indeed provide statistically significant results in a palliative setting. Of particular interest has been the emerging evidence with regards to particular efficacy for particular symptoms. These results can guide other clinicians when referring to the CT team more appropriately therefore meaning patients receive the most suitable treatment for their needs. Such evidence helps with improving the recognition of the role of Complementary Therapy in the hospice setting.
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