• Patients' perceptions of complementary therapies in palliative care

      Wyatt, Debbie; Owen, Donna M. (University of Chester, 2008-04)
      The use of complementary therapies within palliative care is increasing, and many different therapies are now offered within the hospice setting. Much of the available literature concentrates on providing a scientific link between administered therapies and the benefit they give, palliative care is unique in that a cure is not sought; the aim of palliative care is to ensure maximum comfort and happiness for the patient and so if patients feel benefit from using a complementary therapy, one can argue that it should be available to them. The work presented in this dissertation is a study of a particular group of palliative-care patients, and their experience of two types of complementary therapies - acupuncture and aromatherapy - as a model to indicate their value in other treatment contexts. The aim of the study is to examine palliative-care patients' perceptions of their experience of acupuncture and aromatherapy. A phenomenological approach is followed in this study utilising triangulation of methods. Six patients were approached and recruited, three of whom were commencing a course of acupuncture, and three of whom were commencing a course of aromatherapy. Prior to starting their chosen therapy, each participant completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality-of-life questionnaire. Throughout the therapy participants kept a daily diary describing how they felt each day. Upon completion of the course of therapy, participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews Four themes were identified from the interview transcripts and daily diaries: participants felt the therapy helped with pain, helped with relaxation, gave them 'me time', and they valued the counselling role of the therapist. Results were limited to four participants as two of the original six recruited were not eventually able to be interviewed. Palliative-care patients appear to find acupuncture and aromatherapy beneficial. All were glad to have had the therapy and wanted to have further similar therapy in the future. A qualitative approach proved very useful in gaining patients' perceptions. Two of the themes identified in this study are not apparent in previous literature and so further qualitative research would be informative.