Although the counseling did not improve the survival rates or physical functioning of these individuals, the researchers were encouraged that their quality of life was improved.
These findings demonstrate that telephone counseling can be used effectively to provide people with coping skills that can improve their lives as they await a lung transplant, said Duke psychologist James Blumenthal, Ph.D., who led the research team. He added that such counseling also may be useful for helping other patients who have chronic and debilitating diseases but are unable to benefit from face-to-face counseling because they cannot travel to clinical centers that offer specialized services.
"The patients in our trial who received coping skills training delivered by telephone exhibited greater improvements in quality of life measures, including less emotional distress, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and increased feelings of vitality and perceived social support," Blumenthal said. "Waiting for a transplant can be an extremely stressful time for patients. They are anxiously awaiting the call that an organ is available and worrying that they may not live long enough to undergo a transplant."
The team reported results of the trial in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The trial was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
"Our findings demonstrate that psychological interventions can be effectively delivered over the telephone to extremely sick patients who are generally not thought to require or to be able to benefit from mental health services," Blumenthal said. "We believe that fu
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center