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Hospice & Palliative Care

Hospice & Palliative Care (3)

05 Jul

Researchers from the University of Washington’s, School of Public Health and Community Medicine reviewed the literature for evidence that massage therapy and mind-body therapies improve quality of life for seriously ill patients at the end of life.  

A systematic review of randomized, controlled trials of massage and mind-body therapies yielded 27 clinical trials testing massage or mind-body interventions. Of these, 26 showed significant improvements in symptoms such as anxiety, emotional distress, comfort, nausea and pain. However, results were often inconsistent across studies, and there were variations in methodology, so it was difficult to judge the clinical significance of the results.

10 Nov

A literature review on complementary therapies for cancer, released by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), gives a good overview of their potential for helping with treating cancer.

An important review of the literature on CAM therapies and cancer treatment was recently released by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Generally speaking, reports of use vary by geographical area, gender, and disease diagnosis. Prevalence of CAM use among cancer patients in the United States has been reported at anywhere between 7% and 54%.

Most cancer patients use CAM with the hope of boosting the immune system, relieving pain, and controlling side effects related to disease or treatment. A minority of patients use these therapies to help with cure.

15 Aug

According to a survey of 1,462 seriously ill patients by Karen Steinhauser and her research team at Duke University, freedom from pain is the most important priority at the end of life, followed by being at peace with God and being with loved ones. Other areas that ranked high in importance were good patient-physician communication, being prepared for death, and achieving closure. Items that were considered important by patients but less so by physicians included being mentally alert, not being a burden to others, and having time to plan funeral arrangements. Interestingly, the researchers also found that dying at home was not a priority. People don’t fear death, said Steinhauser at a press conference announcing the survey findings. They fear bad dying.

Citation: Steinhauser KE, Christakis NA, Clipp EC, McNeilly M, Grambow S, Parker J, Tulsky JA. Preparing for the end of life: preferences of patients, families, physicians, and other care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2001 Sep;22(3):727-37.