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Acceptability and Feasibility of Reiki for Symptom Management in Children Receiving Palliative Care

Thrane, Susan E (2015) Acceptability and Feasibility of Reiki for Symptom Management in Children Receiving Palliative Care. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Complementary therapies are chosen by parents of children receiving palliative care to augment the use of traditional medications for symptom management without the increased side effects additional medications may bring. Pain and anxiety are common symptoms for children receiving palliative care. Reiki therapy is a light touch therapy that has been examined in adults but not with children until recently. This dissertation addresses the evidence for complementary therapies for children experiencing pain and anxiety, Reiki therapy for pain and anxiety in adults, and evidence based complementary therapies for young children considering developmental stage. The main study is a quasi-experimental mixed methods pilot study design examining the acceptability and the feasibility of a Reiki therapy intervention for children ages 7 to 16 years receiving palliative care. We measured pain, anxiety, and relaxation operationalized as heart and respiratory rates pre and post Reiki therapy interventions at each of two home visits. We completed a structured interview separately with parents and children to elicit their views on the Reiki therapy experience. Paired student t-tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests were calculated comparing the pre and post Reiki scores separately for verbal and non-verbal children for each treatment, over the entire intervention, and independent sample t-tests or Mann-Whitney tests comparing children based on demographic variables. We approached 24 child-parent dyads, 21 (87.5%) agreed to participate and signed consents while 3 (12.5%) declined to participate. Of the 21 dyads, 16 completed the study (eight verbal and eight non-verbal children). Statistical significance was obtained for verbal children for heart rate for treatment two (t=3.550, p = 0.009) and for nonverbal children for pain for treatment two (Z = -2.023, p = 0.063); however effect sizes using Cohen’s d levels were medium to large for both verbal and non-verbal children for pain and anxiety. Children and their parents told us their experiences with Reiki therapy. Themes found in interviews augment the quantitative results. Themes included Feeling Better, Hard to Judge, and Still Going On, which helped clarify the quantitative results. Results support further study of Reiki therapy for symptom management in children.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thrane, Susan Esut11@pitt.eduSUT110000-0001-6654-9133
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCohen, Susan Mcohensu@pitt.eduCOHENSU
Committee MemberDanford, Cynthia Adanfordc@pitt.eduDANFORDC
Committee MemberMaurer, Scott Hscott.maurer@chp.eduSHM84
Committee MemberRen, Dianxudir8@pitt.eduDIR8
Date: 3 August 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 July 2015
Approval Date: 3 August 2015
Submission Date: 31 July 2015
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 313
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Nursing > Nursing
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: child, pediatric, complementary, integrative, pain, anxiety, Reiki
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2015 19:17
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:42


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