Palliative in-patient cancer treatment in an anthroposophic hospital: II. Quality of life during and after stationary treatment, and subjective treatment benefits.

Research paper by Peter P Heusser, Sarah Berger SB Braun, Manuel M Bertschy, René R Burkhard, Renatus R Ziegler, Silke S Helwig, Brigitte B van Wegberg, Thomas T Cerny

Indexed on: 27 Jul '06Published on: 27 Jul '06Published in: Forschende Komplementarmedizin (2006)


There is an increasing demand for comprehensive forms of palliative cancer care, meeting physical as well as emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social needs. Therapy programs of anthroposophic hospitals are aimed at improving health and quality of life (QoL) at these levels. However, data on the influence of these programs on QoL of patients with advanced cancer are scarce.144 in-patients with advanced epithelial cancers were treated at the anthroposophic Lukas Klinik, Arlesheim, Switzerland. QoL was assessed upon admission, discharge and after 4 months, using 20 functional scales from the questionnaires EORTC QLQ-C30, HADS and SELT-M. Statistical testing was performed with the Wilcoxon signed rank test. At month 4, subjectively perceived benefits from anthroposophic medicine (AM) and conventional cancer therapy (CCT) were assessed by telephone.The aim was to provide an account of global, physical, emotional, cognitive-spiritual and social QoL developments in advanced cancer patients, during and after in-patient AM treatment, and to investigate subjective benefits from AM and CCT.QoL improvements were observed in all 20 dimensions (12 significant). Compared to related studies, improvements were fairly high. At month 4, QoL scores had decreased but were still above baseline in all 20 dimensions. Both AM and CCT were perceived as beneficial.Our data provide evidence that in-patient therapy at an anthroposophic hospital can lead to significant QoL improvements, especially in emotional, but also global, physical, cognitive-spiritual and social aspects. Benefits of AM were experienced on the physical, emotional, cognitive- spiritual and social level. Benefits of CCT were tumor-focused.