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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stress Management Can Save You Money!

An increasing number of studies, including randomized clinical trials, point to safe and relatively inexpensive interventions that can improve cardiovascular health outcomes and reduce the need for more expensive medical treatments.

A study of patients with heart disease found that psychosocial interventions reduced the risk of further cardiac events by 75 percent, compared to the patients who were given only standard medical care and medications. A sample of 107 patients with heart disease was randomly divided into three groups (standard medical care, exercise, and stress management) and followed for up to five years for the incidence of myocardial infarction, bypass surgery, and angioplasty. The stress management group showed a marked difference compared to the other two groups: only 10 percent experienced these clinical conditions, versus 21 percent in the exercise group and 30 percent in the standard - care group.

An important component of psychological preparation for surgery involves giving patients positive physiological suggestions and imagery. In a randomized, placebo - controlled, double - blind clinical trial, 335 patients were given one of four different audiotapes to listen to before and during surgery. The placebo group listened to a tape with a neutral white noise. Only one experimental tape produced statistically significant benefits; it contained guided imagery, music, and specifi c suggestions of diminished blood loss and rapid healing. The patients who listened to this tape experienced a 43 percent reduction in blood loss and were able to leave the hospital more than a day earlier than the other groups.

The Chronic Disease Self - Management Program, developed jointly by Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente, includes educational group sessions for patients with chronic disease. The intervention consists of a patient handbook and seven weekly two - hour small - group sessions that focus on developing practical skills to cope with common symptoms and emotions. In a randomized clinical trial of 952 patients, those who participated in the course, compared to the wait - listed control subjects, demonstrated significant improvements at six months in weekly minutes of exercise, self - reported health, health distress, fatigue, and disability. They also had fewer hospitalizations and spent an average of 0.8 fewer nights in the hospital. Assuming that a day in the hospital costs a thousand dollars, the health care savings were approximately $750 per participant — more than ten times the cost of the program.

Not only does stress management appear to reduce the long - term chances that heart patients will have another cardiac event, a new analysis by the Duke University Medical Center and the American Psychological Association demonstrates that this approach also provides an immediate and significant cost savings.

The medical outcomes in this study were notable. Patients in both the exercise group and the standard - care group averaged 1.3 cardiac events — bypass surgery, angioplasty, heart attack, or death — by the fifth year of the follow - up. Those in the stress management group, in contrast, averaged only 0.8 such events during the same period.

The research team found a financial benefit of stress management strategies within the first year of the study. The average cost for the patients who utilized stress management were $1,228 per patient during the first year, compared to $2,352 per patient for those who exercised and $4,523 per patient for those who received standard medical care.

Moreover, the researchers found that the financial benefit of stress management was maintained over time. The average cost rose to only $9,251 per patient during the fifth year for those who used stress management strategies, compared to $15,688 per patient for those who exercised and $14,997 per patient for those who received standard medical care. The average cost per patient per year during the five years was $5,998 for those who used stress management, $8,689 for those who exercised, and $10,338 for those who received standard medical care.

Thus, the benefits of stress management seem to exceed the benefits of both exercise and standard medical care in the reduction of cardiac events and in financial costs.

There is now a large body of research that links stress to heart disease, and there is an equally impressive and growing body of evidence of the effectiveness of stress management for successfully treating heart disease. Thus, it seems prudent that clinical interventions should better refl ect the emerging evidence of the effi cacy and cost - effectiveness of stress management for the treatment of heart disease. Stress management techniques such as B - R - E - A - T - H - E should be an integral part of evidence - based, cost - effective, high - quality health care.


Arnold Brame said...

It is found that if you are badly stressed at the workplace, you are more likely to take wrong decisions. You may even get hurt because of taking too much stress at the places like construction sites, and factories where lots of risks of injuries are involved. I found this article very useful for my blog. I will share some points in my blog.

Arnold Brame
Health and Safety Risk Assessments

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