Reduction of Pain Responses Using Guided Imagery


Name: Francine Nelson

Rank: CDR, USN

Organization: U.S. Naval Hospital-Portsmouth, VA

Performance Site: U.S. Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, VA

Year Published: 1993

Abstract Status: Final


The purpose of this study was to determine whether guided imagery decreases the perception of pain during needle insertion. Based on Roy's adaptation model, 1,000 non-emergent patients (during a 6 month period) who needed insertions of intravenous catheters at a Navy emergency room (ER) were studied.To determine the efficacy of guided imagery intervention on procedural pain, four hypotheses were tested using four outcomes, including self-reported pain ratings and cardiovascular responses during needle insertion. Patients were randomly assigned to either the guided imagery (n=500) or control (n=500) group.No statistically significant differences in pain intensity were found between groups, as measured by the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, Visual Analogue scale, blood pressure, and heart rate. However, the perceptions of "fear," "gnawing," and "tiring" were found to be lower in the guided imagery group, compared to the control, before and during the procedure.Cognitive control has been shown as being effective in the relief of anxiety and pain. Guided imagery is one of the important techniques of cognitive control available to nurses in assisting clients to elevate their adaptation level and achieve wellness. The data from this study will serve as pilot data for future studies.