Ducloux, D., Guisado, H., & Pautex, S. (2013). Promoting sleep for hospitalized patients with advanced cancer with relaxation therapy: experience of a randomized study. The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, 30, 536–540.doi: 10.1177/1049909112459367
To measure the efficacy of relaxation training for hospitalized patients with advanced cancer.
Patients were randomized to receive an immediate or delayed intervention, on day 3 or day 6 of a nine-day study period. The intervention was a one-hour training session delivered by a specially trained registered nurse (RN) in deep breathing and somatic tension release, as well as instruction on maintaining a state of somatic relaxation. Patients were given a CD of the audio training to repeat at night after the training.
This was a pilot, randomized, controlled trial.
Only 11 patients were able to complete the treatment phase of the study. Both groups improved (not statistically) between the day of inclusion and day 2 of therapy. No improvement occurred between days 2 and 5, which was when the intervention occurred for half of the patients. No change occurred in the use of benzodiazepines during the nine-day study.
The study did not show that a simple relaxation therapy intervention improved satisfaction with sleep in patients with advanced cancer hospitalized on a palliative care unit.
Assessment and management of sleep disturbances should be integrated into patient care early in the disease process. Further work is needed to identify and test interventions that can be used to improve sleep in patients with advanced cancer. Further work is also needed to determine whether relaxation therapies have an effect on sleep satisfaction.
It is critical to assess and manage sleep disturbances in patients with cancer early in the disease process. Ongoing evaluation and research is required into effective interventions to promote sleep in patients with cancer; specifically, further work is needed to look at relaxation therapies and determine if they are effective and a means of improving patient satisfaction with sleep.