Implementing a Guided Imagery Program as Adjuvant Treatment for Out-Patient Oncology Patients

Charina Toste, Walden University


Anxiety symptoms are prevalent among oncology patients with 78% of all oncology patients reporting anxiety, and as many as 48% suffering from severe anxiety. In the ambulatory chemotherapy environment, clinicians need to manage uncontrolled anxiety related symptoms which extends the time necessary for treatment. Guided imagery, a psychosocial intervention, is an effective therapy to reduce patient stress and anxiety. The purpose of this project was to determine the efficacy of a guided imagery intervention to reduce anxiety for newly diagnosed oncology patients through a secondary data analysis. The conceptual framework was informed by the theory of unpleasant symptoms, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and Kolcaba's comfort theory. The secondary data included 113 patients, 58 women and 59 men ages 18 to 89 years old, participated in the guided imagery intervention. Each patient completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI); a systematic assessment of any pre-existing anxiety, severity, and impact on quality of life and functional performance status. A paired t test was applied to assess the mean difference and p-value, revealing a significant decrease in the clinic's chemotherapy patients' anxiety symptomology. The results support the application of guided imagery as standard adjuvant treatment for out-patient oncology patients.