Background There has been increased use of non-pharmacological treatments to support patients with life-limiting illness. Relaxation is now seen as a core component of interventions in hospice and palliative care (Miller & Hopkinson, 2008). The benefits have been well documented. A weekly hospice complementary therapist-led relaxation group was introduced and its impact evaluated.
Aim To evaluate the relaxation group and assess whether relaxation techniques help patients’ symptoms and improve their sense of wellbeing.
Method Patients attended a six-week relaxation programme where they learnt techniques including breath-work, mindfulness meditations, guided visualisations and progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Referrals were received from within the hospice.
Using an adapted Visual Analogue Scale, each week patients were asked to identify their main symptom with a score from 0 (no symptom) to 10 (the worst it could be) pre- and post- intervention. Patients were also asked to rate their wellbeing on a scale from 0% (no sense of wellbeing) to 100% (the best they could feel) pre- and post- session. Results were further analysed to see which symptoms reported were related to an improvement in wellbeing.
Results Out of 121 patient contacts over 27 weeks, 113 (93%) reported an improvement in their symptoms. Overall mean before was 6.3 and post 3.5 (improvement of 2.8). Stress improved by a mean of 4.1; pain by 3.3; anxiety by 2.9 and Shortness of Breath (SOB) by 2.8.
A total of 98 (81%) reported an improvement in sense of wellbeing. Results were further analysed to see which symptoms reported had a correlated improvement in wellbeing. One example: patients citing SOB as main symptom felt their wellbeing improved by 20%.
Conclusion The relaxation group showed benefit to hospice patients and empowered them to use a holistic tool to manage their health and wellbeing. The study can be used as a patient-centred approach for future planning and service provision.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.