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We Knew It: Guided Imagery Speeds Weaning from Mechanical Ventilators

17 Dec

Researchers from WellStar Health System in Atlanta GA and Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA assessed the usefulness of guided imagery in helping wean patients off mechanical ventilators.

Forty-two patients were selected from two community acute care hospitals. One hospital served as the comparison group and provided routine care (no intervention) while the other hospital provided the guided imagery intervention.

Sedation levels, sedative and analgesic volume consumption, and physiological responses were the outcomes that were measured and compared.

The guided imagery intervention included two sessions, each lasting 60 minutes, offered during morning weaning trials from mechanical ventilation.

Measurements were recorded at baseline and 30- and 60-minute intervals, and included vital signs and Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) scores. Sedative and analgesic medication volume consumption were recorded 24 hours prior to and after the intervention.

The guided imagery group had significantly improved RASS scores and reduced sedative and analgesic volume consumption.

Additionally, during the second session, oxygen saturation levels significantly improved as compared to the comparison group.

In all, the guided imagery group had 4.88 fewer days of mechanical ventilation and 1.4 days less hospital length of stay, as compared to the comparison group.

The investigators conclude that guided imagery is a promising intervention during mechanical ventilation weaning.

Citation: Spiva L1, Hart PL2, Gallagher E3, McVay F3, Garcia M4, Malley K5, Kadner M5, Segars A5, Brakovich B6, Horton SY6, Smith N5. The Effects of Guided Imagery on Patients Being Weaned from Mechanical Ventilation. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015:802865. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

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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.