1. In this randomized controlled trial, the post-test fatigue score was significantly lower in those who received spiritual care, compared to the control group.

2. Furthermore, the post-test score for pain was significantly lower in the spiritual care group compared to the control group.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Cancer-related pain (CRP) and cancer-related fatigue (CRF) are common complications of chemotherapy which significantly reduce quality of life for patients. Spirituality is known to demonstrate positive health effects and has shown to be beneficial in coping with cancer diagnoses. However, previous studies looking at the effects of spiritual care on CRF and CRP have demonstrated conflicting results. As a result, the objective of the present randomized controlled trial was to explore the effects of spiritual care on CRF and CRP in patients receiving chemotherapy.

The study was conducted in 2018 and included 162 patients with gastrointestinal cancer undergoing chemotherapy at a single center in Iran. Patients were included if they were Muslim, had basic literacy skills, received only chemotherapy, used no analgesics during the 3-day intervention, and had no significant psychiatric history. Patients were excluded if there were any modifications in the treatment of cancer during the study period. Patients were randomized to either the intervention or control group through block randomization. Patients in the intervention group received of two 30-45-minute spiritual care sessions per day for 3 days, while the control group received routine care services. Fatigue and pain were measured using the Fatigue Severity Scale and the visual analog scale respectively. Data was analyzed using Chi-square tests and independent-sample t-tests. The primary outcomes were post-intervention fatigue and pain scores.

Results demonstrated that compared to the pre-test mean scores for both fatigue and pain, the post-test mean score was significantly lower in the intervention group compared to the control group. However, the study was limited by the lack of consideration for cancer stage, metastasis and prognosis which may impact its generalizability. Nonetheless, these results demonstrate the role of spiritual care in addressing CRP and CRF in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Click to read the study in Holistic Nursing Practice

Image: PD

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