'Needle with ease': Rapid stress management techniques
For some patients, even looking at a needle is enough to make them feel anxious. Repeated cannulation for bloods and all other intravenous therapies, such as scans and chemotherapy treatment can become so frightening that they escalate to feeling overwhelmed and panicky. If this response persists without any intervention, it may eventually become a phobia (Choy et al, 2007). Four-hundred-thousand patients are treated at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust each year, with many receiving intravenous chemotherapy treatments. The 'CALM' service was initiated over 5 years ago to enable and support patients to achieve a calm state during procedural-related anxieties and panic. Thanks to recent funding from 'Walk the Walk' Breast Cancer Charity, the service has grown, enabling more patients to access the service. Increasing skill has led to development of training courses for health professionals. The training provides easy-to-learn skills, some of which are described here, that can be used to prevent and/or interrupt panic states triggered by medical procedures.
Available from: Fiona Holland
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The aim of this research was to explore and capture complementary therapists’ experiences of and preparation for working with patients in an acute cancer care setting.
Semi structured interviews with therapists (n=18) in an acute cancer hospital in the North West of England. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic coding.
Key themes identified included; the need for a ‘tool box’ of skills that develop beyond those taught in initial training, building confidence when adapting these new skills in practice, helping patients to become empowered, the need to support carers, research evidence and resources issues, and the role of supervision.
This study was limited by being set in a single acute cancer site. Therapists valued having a ‘tool box’ but needed confidence and support to navigate the challenges of clinical practice.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Integrative oncology uses non-pharmacological adjuncts to mainstream care to manage physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms experienced by cancer survivors. Depression, anxiety, fatigue and pain are among the common, often burdensome symptoms that can occur in clusters, deplete patient morale, interfere with treatment plans, and hamper recovery. Patients already seek various modalities on their own to address a broad range of problems. Legitimate complementary therapies offered at major cancer institutions improve quality of life, speed recovery, and optimize patient support. They also augment the benefits of psychiatric interventions, due to their ability to increase self-awareness and improve physical and psychological conditioning. Further, these integrated therapies provide lifelong tools and develop skills that patients use well after treatment to develop self-care regimens. The active referral of patients to integrative therapies achieves three important objectives: complementary care is received from therapists experienced in working with cancer patients, visits become part of the medical record, allowing treatment teams to guide individuals in maximizing benefit, and patients are diverted from useless or harmful 'alternatives.' We review the reciprocal physical and psychiatric benefits of exercise, mind-body practices, massage, acupuncture, and music therapy for cancer survivors, and suggest how their use can augment mainstream psychiatric interventions.
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