Patients hospitalized with life-threatening conditions experience psychological stressors that can lead to anxiety and poor patient outcomes. Mindfulness stress reduction interventions have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety with sustained effect.

Local Problem

In a single center’s cardiac care units, only pharmacological stress reduction options were embedded in the daily care plan.


This project evaluated the feasibility and effect of a brief mindfulness intervention on stress, anxiety, and resilience in 20 hospitalized patients with advanced heart failure awaiting transplant. A 1-group, pretest-posttest design over a 4-week period was used. The intervention included a one-on-one mindfulness education session and a 12-minute audio-guided tablet computer app for daily self-practice. Outcome variables measured at baseline and 2 and 4 weeks after implementation included stress (10-item Perceived Stress Scale), anxiety (7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder instrument), and resilience (10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale). Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics and repeated-measures analysis of variance with Friedman tests, Bonferroni post hoc tests, and Wilcoxon matched-pairs tests.


Significant reductions in stress and anxiety and increase in resilience occurred from baseline to 2 weeks and 4 weeks after intervention (all P = .001). Feasibility and acceptability were evident from patient experience survey data and focused interview responses.


A brief mindfulness intervention holds promise for improving stress, anxiety, and resilience for patients with advanced heart failure awaiting transplant. Nurse-led stress reduction interventions are imperative for best patient outcomes. An evidence-based intervention of mindfulness practice embedded into daily usual patient care may be a feasible option.

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