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.
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.