Most patients experience fatigue during chemotherapy. Ignoring this fatigue can contribute to worsening overall health of patients and a slowed recovery process.
We investigated the effectiveness of a warm-water footbath on relieving fatigue and insomnia problems in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
This was a 2-group, longitudinal study design. Adults diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and receiving a 4-series platinum chemotherapy regimen were recruited and then followed up for 6 months. They completed fatigue and insomnia items on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 14th days after each scheduled chemotherapy. Participants in the experimental group soaked their feet in 41°C to 42°C warm water for 20 minutes every evening, starting from the eve of receiving the first chemotherapy, whereas participants in the comparison group did not do so.
There were 25 and 18 participants in the comparison and experimental groups, respectively, who completed the study. Participants in the experimental group reported a significant reduction in fatigue and improvement in sleep quality from the second session of chemotherapy and continued to improve during the study period.
A warm-water footbath intervention resulted in reduced fatigue and insomnia symptoms for gynecologic cancer patients during chemotherapy.
Implications for Practice:
A warm-water footbath is local moist heat application. It is noninvasive and easy to apply at home. The findings provide empirical support that a warm-water footbath relieves fatigue and insomnia problems of patients undergoing chemotherapy. It can be a nonpharmaceutical method to help patients overcome fatigue and sleep problems during chemotherapy.