Building on previous pilot studies, the “You Cope, We Support” project will be conducted with patients from the UF Health Shands Hospital pediatric and adult sickle cell programs. Patient-centered guided relaxation/distraction exercises have been specifically modified for this project.
In addition, because patients were found to be more likely to engage when they are supported, automated system-generated alerts/reminders will be sent every 24 hours via phone call, text or email, and a designated health care worker from the community will serve as the proactive remote support staff.
Ezenwa said the ultimate goal is to have guided relaxation techniques become an accepted prescription by health care providers for sickle cell disease patients worldwide.
“I believe in a balanced approach to care,” she said. “There is a place for both drug and non-drug therapies in pain management, and there is also a place for patients to become active partners in their own care. It is our hope that the “You Cope, We Support’’ intervention will help patients relax and heal without the need to take large amounts of opioids.”
Anna McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor, said this research could not have come at a better time.
“The recent racial and social movements within our country put a clear focus on the populations who have suffered from health disparities for so long,” McDaniel said. “At the UF College of Nursing, we are proud of the work we are doing to move racial and social justice forward. Dr. Ezenwa’s research on pain management for sickle cell disease patients is a significant step toward creating balance and equality in health care.”
Co-investigators on the grant, titled “A Stress and Pain Self-management m-Health App for Adult Outpatients with Sickle Cell Disease,” make up a multidisciplinary team from the College of Nursing, including Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN; Yingwei Yao, Ph.D.; and Robert Lucero, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., FAAN; the UF College of Medicine, including Lucien Black, M.D., and Molly Mandernach, M.D., M.P.H.; and the UF College of Public Health and Health Professors, including David Fedele, Ph.D., ABPP.