Sparrow Caregivers test meditation as part of new research study

Published: Feb. 8, 2016

Caregivers in Sparrow’s Hospice and Palliative Care are participating in a study combining the convenience of modern smartphone apps with the age-old practice of meditation.

In an innovative six-week study through the Center for Innovation and Research, a collaboration between Sparrow and Michigan State University, Caregivers are testing a series of apps designed by an MSU Department of Media and Information professor that offer daily guided meditation sessions.

Sparrow officials hope the project will help Caregivers learn how to easily incorporate the stress-fighting benefits of meditation into their daily lives.

“Professional Caregivers in Hospice and Palliative Care face incredible challenges every day when they face Patients who are dying or facing constant pain,” said MSU Professor Carrie Heeter, Ph.D. “They are at a huge risk of fatigue and burn-out. There has been some research showing meditation can help. The challenge is how to deliver that in an accessible way.”

Participating Caregivers will be asked to download the apps to their smartphones and follow the daily instructions. They will also receive twice-weekly emails with additional tips. Heeter said participants should be able to notice changes in how they react to stressful situations as soon as a week after beginning the program.

The meditation project is one of several collaborative research programs between Sparrow and MSU through the Center for Innovation and Research, a partnership that seeks to study ways to improve delivery of care. Founded in 2012, the Center represents a milestone in the alliance between the university and the health system to significantly improve mid-Michigan’s healthcare through academic, research, and clinical programs.

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