Background and aims: Qigong has been used as a complementary therapy to improve different health-related problems. This study aims to test the effects of Qigong on quality of life, pain and depressive symptoms in older hospitalized patients.
Methods: In this randomized controlled single blind study, we randomized 58 ≥50 years adults admitted to a post-acute intermediate care rehabilitation facility, to receive a 90 min, bi-weekly, 4-week structured Qigong intervention plus usual care and rehabilitation (N = 29) or usual care and rehabilitation alone (N = 29). Outcomes included quality of life (0-100 points visual analogical scale), pain (0-10 points scale), and depressive symptoms (5-item modified Yesavage Geriatric Depression Scale). We also evaluated participants' compliance and safety.
Results: Of the enrolled 58 participants (mean age ± SD = 74.3 ± 8.2 years, 88 % women) we dropped-out four in the control group. No statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics were shown between groups, including age, gender, marital status, education, comorbidity and functional status, main diagnostic at admission and number of rehabilitation sessions. In an intention-to-treat analysis (repeated measures ANOVA) the intervention group experienced a significant improvement in quality of life (mean increase of 19 points vs 2.6 points for controls, p = 0.002). Pain and depressive symptoms improved in both groups. Adherence was good (79 % of participants completed the whole program). No adverse events were reported.
Conclusions: According to our results, a structured Qigong intervention, together with usual care, might contribute to improve quality of life of patients admitted to a post-acute intermediate care rehabilitation unit, compared to usual care.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00944788.