Brain tumour patients who take advantage of lifestyle coaching report less fatigue and better mental health
Life coaching entails what, exactly?
Coaching for a healthy way of life typically focuses on encouraging physical activity and dietary improvements. Evidence suggests it may also help cancer patients feel less tired.
Different styles of coaching were analysed in the study:
Health coaching helped patients make positive lifestyle changes by providing them with one-on-one guidance from a health coach over the course of eight weekly sessions.
Participants in the Activation Coaching group received the same treatment as those in the Health Coaching group. And two individualised, one-hour sessions to equip each participant with the knowledge and self-assurance they need to take part in the study.
For this purpose, participants kept a diary and wore a step counter to keep track of their daily activity.
Does it have the potential to alleviate tredness?
For this study, researchers enrolled 46 adults aged 18 and up who were diagnosed with a primary brain tumour of any grade. After undergoing treatment for their tumour, participants had to have been in remission for at least three months. Everyone in that group was diagnosed as clinically fatigued.
Participants were highly engaged even though they were extremely tired, according to the findings. Coaching had a positive effect over time, as participants became more physically active as the study progressed.
Throughout the course of the study, participants in both coaching groups reported less fatigue than they had before. This was determined by looking at the participants’ performance on the FACIT-Fatigue and Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) scales. In healthcare settings, professionals will use these questionnaires to gauge the extent of their patients’ fatigue.
Those in the “Activation Coaching” group also reported the greatest improvement in mental health.
These findings support the hypothesis that lifestyle coaching has a positive impact on the quality of life of people coping with a brain tumour. Moreover, the results demonstrated the acceptability and safety of coaching for people with severe fatigue.
Participating in the study and coping with a pilocytic astrocytoma, 42-year-old Jerome van Leeuwen said;
Participating in the study could benefit others. With a brain tumour, there isn’t much I can do to help others, but at least I could do this. I joined the study without any particular hopes or expectations, thinking it would be a nice perk if it helped my fatigue, and it did help me, a lot, so it was a win-win.
“Studies like this give patients like me access to more resources for managing a condition that can’t be treated, only managed. To have an outside expert guiding me towards a more active lifestyle while still juggling my other responsibilities was a great help.
How do the authorities view this?
Researcher and Consultant Neuropsychiatrist at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences Dr. Alasdair Rooney said:
If people with brain tumours are to have a better quality of life, we need to find better ways to treat the fatigue that comes along with the disease. Some encouraging preliminary findings are presented in this study that point to the potential benefits of lifestyle coaching in reducing fatigue and improving mental health.
Bringing together the private, non-profit, and health sectors to accomplish this goal was very inspiring. It demonstrates that patients can benefit from a novel, cross-sectoral approach.
Further research is required to define coaching and establish whether or not it is a long-term intervention. However, the results of this study support further investigation into methods of enhancing patients’ quality of life.