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Mindfulness in Healthcare

Mindfulness-based Sress Reduction (MBSR) first took root in the 1970’s within a health-care environment. In its first twenty five years alone, over 10,000 patients at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center had completed the programme.

 

Mindfulness for Patients

Extensive research into Mindfulness approaches has shown its efficacy for patients. In the UK, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE 2004) as a treatment for recurring depression. Studies have ranged from the effect of MBCT on patients receiving treatmeant for cancer, acquired brain injury, reduced self-awareness, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (MSc) and more. (See for example: www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/research.php )

 

Mindfulness for Clinicians

More recently, the benefits of mindfulness for healthcare professionals themselves have come into focus. Mindfulness is now also recognised within the NHS as a means of combatting stress amongst clinicians. This is, in part, an admission that difficult conditions for staff can endanger patient care and safety. It is also an acknowledgement that when working conditions themselves are beyond our control, employers have the responsibility to support the one thing that can change, namely, how well their workforce is able to respond in the face of the difficulties. Investing in the health and well-being of clinicians is the obvious answer.

Empirical evidence indicates that participation in the 8-week long course in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) yields benefits for clinicians in the domains of physical and mental health, well-being and coping with stress. (See Cultivating mindfulness in health care professionals: a review of empirical studies of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ )