Weighted Blankets: Anxiety Reduction in Adult Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

Jaime Vinson

Jan Powers

Kelly Mosesso

weighted blanket, deep touch pressure, anxiety, infusion, chemotherapy, cancer
CJON 2020, 24(4), 360-368. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.360-368

Background: Weighted blankets have been used as a deep touch pressure (DTP) tool to alleviate anxiety in many patient populations. Patients with cancer can experience anxiety related to diagnosis and treatments, such as chemotherapy infusions. Research on the effectiveness of weighted blankets as a DTP tool to alleviate anxiety in patients receiving chemotherapy is limited.

Objectives: This study assessed the effectiveness of a medical-grade therapeutic weighted blanket on anxiety in patients receiving their first and second chemotherapy infusions at an outpatient infusion center.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial with a crossover design was performed with new patients in the outpatient chemotherapy infusion center. Patients were randomized to one of two study arms (given the weighted blanket during their first infusion or given the weighted blanket during their second infusion). Anxiety was measured using an anxiety inventory and a visual analog scale.

Findings: Anxiety was reduced among patients receiving chemotherapy when the weighted blanket was used. Based on the results, a standard-weight, medical-grade therapeutic weighted blanket can be safely used to reduce anxiety in patients of various weights, and a visual analog scale can be a reliable indicator of patients’ state anxiety.

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