Although psychological distress is highly prevalent, palliative cancer patients are mostly too lethargic to undergo many sessions of the conventional psychotherapy.
The study aims to develop a brief, quick and easy to administer psychological intervention for rapid reduction of distress in palliative care patients.
In phase I, an expert panel of multidisciplinary team was formed. The theory of mindfulness-based intervention was simplified into a 5-minute mindful breathing technique that can be learnt and practiced by palliative care patients.
In phase II, the efficacy of 5-minute mindful breathing was investigated in a pilot test that comprised of nine palliative cancer patients and eleven care takers.
In Phase III, the efficacy of 5-minute mindful breathing was further examined in a non-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) that included 60 cancer patients under palliative care. Apart from perceived distress, physiological measures were assessed.
The effect of 5-minute mindful breathing in rapidly reducing distress among palliative care patients was confirmed in both the pilot test (Tan et al., 2015) and RCT (Ng et al., 2016). The finding was further supported by the significant physiological changes associated with distress reduction such as decreased breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, galvanic skin and increased skin surface temperature (Ng et al., 2016) with the 5-minute mindful breathing.
The 5-minute mindful breathing is a quick and easy to administer intervention that is useful for reducing acute suffering or distress in palliative care patients.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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