Enhancing Palliative Care With Mindful Touch: Impact of a Manual and Movement Therapy Training Program in an International Multidisciplinary Integrative Oncology Setting

Eran Ben-Arye, Emanuela Portalupi, Yael Keshet, Massimo Bonucci, Gulbeyaz Can, Yolanda Kading, Noah Samuels, Maria Livas, Orit Gressel, Michael Silbermann, Thomas Breitkreuz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: Manual and movement therapies (MMTs) play a central role in the integrative oncology setting, significantly improving patients' quality of life (QOL). Despite research supporting the effectiveness and safety of these modalities, most oncology health care providers (HCPs) lack any MMT training. Objectives: In this study, we examine the impact of an MMT-based integrative oncology training program with the participation of an international and multidisciplinary group of oncology HCPs. The feasibility of implementing these skills in palliative cancer care is examined. Methods: A three-day evidence-based hands-on teaching program was designed to train oncology HCPs working in supportive cancer care MMT modalities from traditional Chinese and anthroposophic medicine. Prequalitative and postqualitative assessments of the trainees' narratives were analyzed using ATLAS.Ti software (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin, Germany) for systematic coding. Results: The training program was attended by 30 participants from Israel (15), Germany (7), Italy (6), Turkey (1), and Cyprus (1). The group included 13 nurses, 10 physicians, 6 complementary/integrative HCPs, and 1 psycho-oncologist. The pretraining expectations that were met at post-training included gaining knowledge and practical QOL-oriented skills, which could be implemented in the palliative and supportive care setting. A significant change in the attitude of trainees to touch therapy was also identified, with respondents seeing MMTs promoting patient-centered palliative care, including nonverbal communication. Conclusion: An MMT training program for oncology HCPs for QOL-related indications is both feasible and likely to be implemented in palliative and supportive cancer care. Nonspecific effects of MMTs were also recognized for their ability to facilitate patient-centered care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Volume61
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • acupressure
  • anthroposophic medicine
  • doctor-patient communication
  • Integrative oncology
  • manual therapy
  • palliative care

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