A review of apps for calming, relaxation, and mindfulness interventions for pediatric palliative care patients

Taelyr Weekly, Nicole Walker, Jill Beck, Sean Akers, Meaghann S Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients and families increasingly use mobile apps as a relaxation and distraction intervention for children with complex, chronic medical conditions in the waiting room setting or during inpatient hospitalizations; and yet, there is limited data on app quality assessment or review of these apps for level of engagement, functionality, aesthetics, or applicability for palliative pediatric patients. The pediatric palliative care study team searched smartphone application platforms for apps relevant to calming, relaxation, and mindfulness for pediatric and adolescent patients. Apps were reviewed using a systematic data extraction tool. Validated Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) scores were determined by two blinded reviewers. Apps were then characterized by infant, child, adolescent, and adult caregiver group categories. Reviewer discussion resulted in consensus. Sixteen of the 22 apps identified were included in the final analysis. The apps operated on either iOS or Android platforms. All were available in English with four available in Spanish. Apps featured a relaxation approach (12/16), soothing images (8/16), and breathing techniques (8/16). Mood and sleep patterns were the main symptoms targeted by apps. Provision of mobile apps resource summary has the potential to foster pediatric palliative care providers’ knowledge of app functionality and applicability as part of ongoing patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalChildren
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Children
  • Meditation
  • Mobile applications
  • Multimedia
  • Palliative
  • Relaxation
  • Stress
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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