Mind Body Medicine
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VII Mind-Body Medicine and reduction of Health-care costs

a. Reducing physical disability.

Pressman, P., Lyons, J.S., Larson, D.B., & Strain, J.J. (1990). Religious belief, depression, and ambulation status in elderly women with broken hips. American Journal of Psychiatry. 147, 758-759. Investigators studied time to recovery in 33 e1deriy women hospitalised with hip fracture. Women who expressed greater religious beliefs and devotiona1 practices experienced less depression and were able to walk further at the time of hospital discharge (reflecting less disability and faster recovery).

Idler, E.L., & Kas1, S. V. (1991). Religion among disabled and nondisabled elderly persons, II: Attendance at religious services as a predictor of the course of disability. Journal of Gerontology 52B, S306-S316. A 12-year longitudinal study of 2,812 older adults in New Haven, CT, conducted by Yale University researchers. Found that frequent religious attendance (reflecting religious belief) in 1982 was associated with significantly less disability during the 6-12 years of follow-up. These findings persisted after controlling for baseline physical functioning, health practices, social ties, and indicators of well-being.

b. Reducing Use of Acute Hospital Service

McSherry E, Ciulla M, Salisbury S, Tsuang D (1987). Spiritual resources in older hospitalised men. Social Compass 35(4):515-537. Heart surgery patients with higher than average personal religious beliefs on admission had post-op lengths of stay that were 20% less than those with lower than average belief scores.

Bliss JR, McSherry E., Fassett J (1995). Chaplain intervention reduces costs in major DRGs: An experimental study. In Hefferman H., McSherry E., Fittgerald R (eds), Proceedings NHI Clinical Center Conference on Spirituality and Health Care outcomes, March 21, 1995. Investigators randomised 33 open-heart surgery patients to either a Chaplain intervention (supportive of religious belief) or usual care. Patients in the intervention group had an average 2 days shorter post-op hospitalization; resulting in an overall cost of $4,200 per patient.

Koenig HG, Larson DB (1998). Use of hospital services. Church attendance, and religious affiliation. Southern Medical Journal, in press (October issue). Found an inverse relationship between frequency of religious service attendance (reflecting religious belief) and likelihood of hospital admission in a sample of 455 older patients. Those who attended church weekly or oftener were significantly less likely in the previous year to have been admitted to the hospital, had fewer hospital admissions, and spent fewer days in the hospital than those attending less often; these associations retained their significance after controlling for covariates. Patients unaffiliated with a religious community had significantly longer index hospital stays than those affiliated. Unaffiliated patients (reflecting religious belief) spent an average of 25 days in the hospital. compared with 11 days for affiliated patients(p<.0001); this association strengthened when physical health and other covariates were controlled. Intrinsic religious belief was also associated with fewer days in the hospital.