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Patterns of use of complementary therapies among cancer patients and their family caregivers.

08 Dec

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University find that cancer patients who elect to use complementary therapies during treatment are more likely to adhere to one treatment (regardless of what it is) than many.

Researchers from the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University (including our old friend, Gwen Wyatt from Michigan State University) explored the patterns of how complementary therapies (CTs) are used over time, and the difference in use from assigning just one over multiple therapies.

The focus of this quasi-experimental study was to offer an 8-week, 5-contact, nurse-delivered intervention involving guided imagery, reflexology, and reminiscence therapy to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and their family caregivers. Participants were allowed to elect to use none or any combination of CTs.

Twenty-seven percent of eligible patients signed consent forms and agreed to participate. The typical participant was Caucasian, married, and had at least a high school education. Higher levels of education predicted use of more than 1 CT among cancer patients; there were no significant predictors for caregivers. Female patients were more likely to complete the CT protocol than their male counterparts, but there were no associations between CT protocol completion and caregiver demographics. Patients and family caregivers who elected to use more than 1 CT did not consistently implement their CTs. Participants who elected to use only 1 CT were more consistently performing their CT over time, suggesting that this lower level of CT use may be easier to integrate into their lives during cancer treatment.

Citation: Kozachik SL, Wyatt G, Given CW, Given BA. Patterns of use of complementary therapies among cancer patients and their family caregivers. Cancer Nurs. 2006 Mar-Apr;29(2):84-94. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award