Unravelling the role of mind-body therapies in paediatric palliative care: A narrative review

Author: Luca Giacomelli1, Simonetta Papa1, Lara Vecchi1, Anna Mercante2, Franca Benini3; Master in PPC Group
1 Polistudium SRL, Milan, Italy.
2 Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Unit, Ospedale San Bortolo, Vicenza, Italy.
3 Department of Women's and Children's Health, Pediatric Palliative Care, Pain Service, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.
Conference/Journal: Acta Paediatr
Date published: 2024 Jan 10
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/apa.17097. , Word Count: 201

Given the multifaceted nature of paediatric palliative care (PPC), integrative medicine and mind-body therapies, in particular, are increasingly used in this setting. However, to our knowledge, their use in PPC has never been specifically reviewed. Therefore, this work aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the application and possible beneficial effects of mind-body therapies in the PPC setting.

Papers about the use of meditation and mindfulness, biofeedback, hypnosis, yoga, tai chi and qi gong, imagery, creative outlets, and art therapy in PPC were identified by browsing PubMed and CINHAL.

We found that the harmless nature of mind-body therapies has been extensively described, and available studies consistently show some benefits on the anxiety, stress, and quality of life of parents/caregivers and healthcare providers. However, well-grounded and robust evidence does not fully support the efficacy of mind-body therapies, especially in patients.

Considering the peculiarity of the PPC setting, we suggest that mind-body therapies should be further considered and properly investigated through larger controlled studies and according to the different populations of PPC children, as well as for parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

Keywords: integrative medicine; mind-body therapies; paediatric palliative care; psychological burden; quality of life.

PMID: 38197439 DOI: 10.1111/apa.17097