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Efficacy of Hand Massage for Enhancing the Comfort of Hospice Patients

Kolcaba, Katharine PhD, RN, C; Dowd, Therese PhD, RN; Steiner, Richard PhD, MPH; Mitzel, Annette MSN, RN, LMT

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: April-May-June 2004 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 91-102
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There is a need to develop and test interventions for patients near end of life that are comforting, easy to learn and administer, and require little effort on the part of recipients. This experimental study tested the efficacy of bilateral hand massage for enhancing hospice patients’ holistic comfort as measured with the Hospice Comfort Questionnaire (HCQ). We hypothesized that, over 3 time points, patients who received hand massage would have higher comfort and less symptom distress than a comparison group. Participants were randomized into treatment (received the intervention twice weekly for 3 weeks) or comparison groups (received the intervention once at the study’s end). Findings indicated that patients receiving hand massage had increased comfort over time, while symptom distress remained flat in both groups. However, findings were insignificant. Ethical and practical issues experienced in this study are discussed.

Katharine Kolcaba, PhD, RN, C, Associate Professor, The University of Akron, College of Nursing, Akron, OH.

Therese Dowd, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, The University of Akron, College of Nursing, Akron, OH.

Richard Steiner, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, The University of Akron, Dept of Statistics, Akron, OH.

Annette Mitzel, MSN, RN, LMT, Instructor, The University of Akron, College of Nursing, Akron, OH.

Address correspondence to Katharine Kolcaba, PhD, RN, C, Associate Professor, The University of Akron, College of Nursing, 209 Carroll St, Akron, OH 44325-3701 (e-mail: kolcaba@uakron.edu).

© 2004 The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association