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P-169 Effect of a holistic approach to the use of aquatic therapy for palliative adult patients
  1. Charlotte Nicklin
  1. Keech Hospice Care, Luton, UK



  • Aquatic therapy is not standardly provided for palliative patients;

  • A hydrotherapy pool provides a warm supportive environment for painful deconditioned bodies during or after medical treatment;

  • Provides an opportunity to move, strengthen, relax and participate with significant effect on emotional well–being;

  • Extends patient opportunities to therapies outside medical treatment, putting patients back in control.

Aims To evaluate the provision of aquatic therapy (therapist-led hydrotherapy) for palliative patients by comparing objective measures and goals pre- and post- treatment

  • Provide therapist–led aquatic therapy;

  • Nurture and empower patients to become independent pool users.

Method Assess and work with palliative adult patients delivering aquatic therapy in 1:1 or group settings.

  • Identify patient goals, physical baseline of ability including a range of standardised physical objective measures, patient perception of issues and well–being;

  • 1:1 water–based assessment explores;

    • patient ability to exercise in water

    • water confidence

    • trial personalised exercises and develop own written programme

  • <6 further sessions of aquatic therapy 1:1, group or combination;

  • Patient feedback questionnaire completed.

Results Data collected from all patients who completed a course of aquatic therapy, average duration two months.

  • 100% improved physical function;

  • 83% improved emotional well–being;

  • 92% continued as independent pool users.

Conclusion Aquatic therapy can have a very positive, significant effect for patients affecting their physical function, willingness and motivation for exercise through their own perception of improvement, and emotional well-being. Relatively simple, short periods of interaction by a therapist can have meaningful long-term benefits for palliative adult patients for both physical outcomes and emotional well-being.


  • Currently no standardised use of aquatic therapy study demonstrates very positive outcomes for palliative patients including their perception, improved physical changes and function;

  • Emphasis to empower patients with independent pool sessions in addition to attending a therapist–led session;

  • Patients feel they are doing something to help themselves, which they find rewarding and motivating.

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