Feasibility and acceptability of hypnosis-derived communication administered by trained nurses to improve patient well-being during outpatient chemotherapy: a pilot-controlled trial

Support Care Cancer. 2022 Jan;30(1):765-773. doi: 10.1007/s00520-021-06481-6. Epub 2021 Aug 10.


Purpose: This pilot-controlled trial aimed to examine the feasibility and acceptability of hypnosis-derived communication (HC) administered by trained nurses during outpatient chemotherapy to optimize symptom management and emotional support - two important aspects of patient well-being in oncology.

Methods: The trial was conducted in two outpatient oncology units: (1) intervention site (usual care with HC), and (2) control site (usual care). Nurses at the intervention site were invited to take part in an 8-h training in HC. Participants' self-ratings of symptoms and emotional support were gathered at predetermined time points during three consecutive outpatient visits using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale and the Emotional Support Scale.

Results: Forty-nine patients (24 in the intervention group, 25 in the control group) with different cancer types/stages were recruited over a period of 3 weeks and completed the study. All nurses (N = 10) at the intervention site volunteered to complete the training and were able to include HC into their chemotherapy protocols (about ± 5 min/intervention). Compared to usual care, patients exposed to HC showed a significant reduction in physical symptoms during chemotherapy. In contrast, perception of emotional support did not show any significant effect of the intervention. Participants exposed to HC report that the intervention helped them relax and connect on a more personal level with the nurse during chemotherapy infusion.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that HC is feasible, acceptable, and beneficial for symptom management during outpatient chemotherapy. While future studies are needed, hypnosis techniques could facilitate meaningful contacts between cancer patients and clinicians in oncology.

Trial registration: Clinical Trial Identifier: NCT04173195, first posted on November 19, 2019.

Keywords: Cancer; Chemotherapy; Emotional support; Hypnosis; Symptom management.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Outpatients*
  • Palliative Care

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04173195