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Research & Studies

Feasibility and Effect of Emotional Freedom Therapy on Sleep Quality in Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease Receiving Maintenance Hemodialysis: A Pilot Study

Citation (APA Style): Tang, X., Wang, L., Ni, S., Wu, M., Hu, S., & Zhang, L. (2023). Feasibility and effect of emotional freedom therapy on sleep quality in patients with end-stage renal disease receiving maintenance hemodialysis: A pilot study. Geriatric Nursing, 51, 112–120. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2023.02.021


Objective: To explore the feasibility and efficacy of emotional freedom therapy (EFT) in improving sleep quality and managing negative emotions in end-stage renal disease patients on maintenance hemodialysis.

Methods: Between May 2021 and February 2022, 66 maintenance hemodialysis patients with sleep problems were recruited and randomized into an intervention and control group. The intervention group underwent a 12-week intervention of EFT. Two groups’ hospital anxiety depression scale (HADS) scores, Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI), and interdialysis weight gain (IDWG) before and one week after the formal intervention were collected and compared. Feasibility analysis was performed using a feasibility questionnaire and in-depth interviews with patients.

Results: Before the intervention, there was no statistical difference in the anxiety, depression, PSQI scores and IDWG between the two groups. After balancing the effects of gender and pre-intervention scores, two-way ANCOVA results showed that there were statistically significant differences between the two groups after the intervention in terms of anxiety, depression, sleep quality, sleep duration, daytime dysfunction and PSQI total score. However, interactions effect for IDWG was statistically significant. Simple effects analysis revealed a difference in post-intervention IDWG between the intervention and control groups for patients over 65 (p < 0.05). Most patients agreed or strongly agreed that the EFT was easy to schedule and they did not experience difficulties during learning the EFT process (respectively 75% and 71.88%). And 75% of the participants were willing to continue practicing EFT. Qualitative content analysis identified five prominent categories related to feasibility and acceptability: affirmation, benefits, communication, support and trust.

Conclusion: EFT can relieve anxiety and depression, enhance sleep quality, and improve the physical condition of patients with end-stage renal disease receiving maintenance hemodialysis. As well, the EFT intervention is practicable, acceptable, and perceived as being beneficial to the patient.


depression, emotional freedom therapy, feasibility, maintenance hemodialysis, sleep quality