Context: There are no studies on the effect of volunteer-provided hand massage in a busy chemotherapy outpatient practice.
Objective: To assess the feasibility of introducing hand massage therapy into an outpatient chemotherapy unit and to evaluate the effect of the therapy on various symptoms experienced by cancer patients.
Design: A pilot, quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest study.
Setting: Chemotherapy outpatient clinic of a large tertiary care academic medical center.
Patients/participants: Forty chemotherapy outpatients.
Intervention: After being approached by a trained volunteer from a hand massage team, patients consented to receive a 20-minute hand massage before chemotherapy that was individualized according to patient preference and expressed needs.
Main outcome measures: The visual analog scale (VAS) was used to measure pain, fatigue, anxiety, muscular discomfort, nervousness, stress, happiness, energy, relaxation, calmness, and emotional well-being (on a scale from 0-10) before and after the intervention; a satisfaction survey was administered after the therapy. Patients' demographic data were summarized with descriptive statistics, and VAS total scores were compared between groups at each time point with the two-group t test. Feasibility was evaluated from the number of patients who were approached, received a hand massage, and completed the study surveys.
Results: Of the 40 participants, 19 were men (mean age, 59.5 years). Significant improvement after hand massage was indicated by VAS scores for fatigue, anxiety, muscular discomfort, nervousness, stress, happiness, energy, relaxation, calmness, and emotional well-being (P < .05). Pain scores also improved, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = .06). All patients indicated that they would recommend hand massage to other patients, and 37 were interested in receiving it during their next chemotherapy treatment.
Keywords: Cancer; Chemotherapy; Hand massage; Volunteers.
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