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Might massage or guided meditation provide "means to a better end"? Primary outcomes from an efficacy trial with patients at the end of life

Completed
Healthy Aging
Downey L, Diehr P, Standish LJ, Patrick DL
Kozak L, Fisher D, Congdon S, Lafferty WE
2009

This article reports findings from a randomized controlled trial of massage and guided meditation with patients at the end of life. Using data from 167 randomized patients, the authors considered patient outcomes through 10 weeks post-enrollment, as well as next-of-kin ratings of the quality of the final week of life for 106 patients who died during study participation.

Multiple regression models demonstrated no significant treatment effects of either massage or guided meditation, delivered up to twice a week, when compared with outcomes of an active control group that received visits from hospice-trained volunteers on a schedule similar to that of the active treatment arms. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for integration of these complementary and alternative medicine therapies into standard hospice care.