Three Lessons From a Randomized Trial of Massage and Meditation at End of Life: Patient Benefit, Outcome Measure Selection, and Design of Trials With Terminally Ill Patients.

Author: Downey L, Engelberg RA, Standish LJ, Kozak L, Lafferty WE.
Affiliation: University of Washington.
Conference/Journal: Am J Hosp Palliat Care.
Date published: 2009 Apr 24
Other: Word Count: 136

Improving end-of-life care is a priority in the United States, but assigning priorities for standard care services requires evaluations using appropriate study design and appropriate outcome indicators. A recent randomized controlled trial with terminally ill patients produced no evidence of benefit from massage or guided meditation, when evaluated with measures of global quality of life or pain distress over the course of patient participation. However, reanalysis using a more targeted outcome, surrogates\' assessment of patients\' benefit from the study intervention, suggested significant gains from massage-the treatment patients gave their highest preassignment preference ratings. The authors conclude that adding a menu of complementary therapies as part of standard end-of-life care may yield significant benefit, that patient preference is an important predictor of outcome, and that modifications in trial design may be appropriate for end-of-life studies.