Research Day

Mind-Body Practices Delivered In A Cancer Infusion Suite To Reduce Symptoms And Improve Well-Being: A Practice-Based Study

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PURPOSE: Anxiety, pain, nausea, and fatigue are common side effects of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Mind-body practices (e.g., yoga, relaxation/breathwork, auricular acupuncture) have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms in outpatient settings. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of mind-body practices delivered during cancer infusion, and to examine changes in symptoms before and after the intervention.

METHODS: Two mind-body practitioners delivered services within a cancer infusion suite as part of an Academic Health Center's Integrative Medicine program. A variety of practices were utilized depending on patient preference and practitioner expertise. A pre and post-intervention survey was collected by the therapist, who asked patients to rate current symptoms (pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, overall distress) on a scale from 0-10. Qualitative data were also collected via unprompted patient feedback.

RESULTS: 191 patients, with various cancers and blood disorders, participated in this study from April 2016 to July 2017, with 86% (n=165) of participants completing both pre and post surveys. Levels of anxiety (Mpre=3.61/Mpost=1.73, p< 0.01), pain (Mpre=1.82/Mpost=1.02, p<.01), nausea (Mpre=.72/Mpost=.326, p<.05), and overall distress (Mpre=3.48/Mpost=1.83, p<0.01) all significantly decreased post intervention.

CONCLUSION: In this practice-based study, clinical symptoms significantly decreased following a mind-body intervention in a cancer infusion infusion suite delivered at the point of care. Future studies should use objective raters to assess symptom reduction. Mind-body practices delivered during infusion services may provide symptom reduction for patients and should be rigorously assessed for dose, individualized preference, and long-term symptom improvement.

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