Background: Most patients experience fatigue during chemotherapy. Ignoring this fatigue can contribute to worsening overall health of patients and a slowed recovery process.
Objective: We investigated the effectiveness of a warm-water footbath on relieving fatigue and insomnia problems in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Methods: This was a 2-group, longitudinal study design. Adults diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and receiving a 4-series platinum chemotherapy regimen were recruited and then followed up for 6 months. They completed fatigue and insomnia items on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 14th days after each scheduled chemotherapy. Participants in the experimental group soaked their feet in 41°C to 42°C warm water for 20 minutes every evening, starting from the eve of receiving the first chemotherapy, whereas participants in the comparison group did not do so.
Results: : There were 25 and 18 participants in the comparison and experimental groups, respectively, who completed the study. Participants in the experimental group reported a significant reduction in fatigue and improvement in sleep quality from the second session of chemotherapy and continued to improve during the study period.
Conclusions: A warm-water footbath intervention resulted in reduced fatigue and insomnia symptoms for gynecologic cancer patients during chemotherapy.
Implications for practice: A warm-water footbath is local moist heat application. It is noninvasive and easy to apply at home. The findings provide empirical support that a warm-water footbath relieves fatigue and insomnia problems of patients undergoing chemotherapy. It can be a nonpharmaceutical method to help patients overcome fatigue and sleep problems during chemotherapy.