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Relaxation and Imagery for Symptom Management: Improving Patient Assessment and Individualizing Treatment

Sharon Van Fleet
ONF 2000, 27(3), 501-510 DOI: 10.1188/00.ONF.501-510

Purpose/Objectives: To discuss and describe the role of relaxation and imagery in the care of patients with cancer, including suggestions for enhancing assessment and brief instructions for implementing basic interventions.

Data Synthesis: Relaxation and imagery are commonly used to treat various side effects of cancer and its treatment. The nursing literature often has encouraged nurses to use relaxation and imagery to assist patients in managing pain, nausea, vomiting, and anxiety. Frequently, the literature has presented these techniques as being simple, harmless interventions requiring little assessment, planning, or individualization.

Conclusions: Simplistic, generalized approaches may result in suboptimal treatment or deleterious responses.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Clinicians must assess and collaborate with patients in developing an appropriate strategy that fits the individual's preferences and beliefs.

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