Complementary therapy improves the patient experience in a group recieving intensive chemotherapy for haematological malignancies: a pilot study
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
The Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) at Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand trialled a new initiative in 2017 involving “Healing Touch Therapy” (an energy-based complementary modality), using gentle nurturing touch.
Aim: To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of delivering Healing Touch (HT) sessions to patients receiving intensive chemotherapy for haematological malignancies. To improve patient’s health related quality of life with a “hands-on”, gentle touch intervention which requires no energy expenditure on the part of the patient.
Method: Ten patients were allocated to a HT practitioner (HTP) for the duration of their hospitalisation. HT sessions of 50-60 minutes occurred twice weekly. Pre/Post Treatment Evaluations were completed by the Healing Touch Practitioner (HTP) and a modified Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy- Leukaemia (FACT-Leu), evaluation tool was completed by the patient after each session. Nursing Staff from the BMTU were also surveyed.
Results: The HT intervention was well received by patients and supported by the nursing staff. Patients reported; finding the sessions helpful overall, creating a state of relaxation, reduced anxiety, pain and muscle tension. A total of 59 HT sessions were delivered during the four month pilot project with 57 complete evaluation sets. Eighty two percent of patients, found the sessions very helpful” or “quite a bit helpful” and 10% found them, “somewhat” or “a little bit” helpful. The data showed an increasing benefit over time, suggesting an accumulative effect took place.
Conclusion: The goal for this pilot study has been met by demonstrating the ability to recruit and retain participants and to receive a high rate of positive qualitative feedback from both patients and staff. This suggests a HT Programme is feasible, acceptable and positive. The results have shown that HT can be a positive contributor to wellbeing in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) and that HT therapy could be offered to all patients with minor changes to delivery and funding arrangements.