The Healing Power of Tender Touch
A couple of astute RNs are changing the tide where I am employed. They are now referring for massage therapy our hospice patients that are afraid of touch, people that are combative or cry out during repositioning, during any kind of hands-on care. The theory is that allowing these people to experience positive, non-threatening touch, compassionate touch, will calm their fears and replace negative or fearful experiences with pleasant and relaxing ones. So far it’s working. They report these patients are calmer overall, easier to approach, and less reactive during hands-on care. Which is of course a much more pleasant experience for all involved!
Has anyone else experienced this? It can of course be a challenge to “sell” the idea to a skeptical doctor or nurse, who may dismiss massage immediately because “they don’t like to be touched”. But with a little patience, perseverance (and Compassionate Touch® training!), a situation which must cause daily anxiety for these people and their caregivers can be turned into an opportunity to build trust and improve every caregiver relationship.