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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Value of Massage Therapy in a Pediatric Hospice

Egeli, Deetria RMT, MRSc; Bainbridge, Lesley BSR(PT), MEd, PhD; Miller, Tanice BScN, MALT; Potts, James BPE, MPE, PhD

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: August 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 319–325
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000576
Feature Articles

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver, Canada, has been hosting a massage therapy practicum within the hospice since 2011. The practicum is delivered by upper-level massage therapy students who are supervised by a registered massage therapist and clinical instructor through West Coast College of Massage Therapy. This study aimed to explore clinicians’ perspectives on the value of providing massage therapy to support children in hospice care, their families, and staff. The research participants (n = 6) comprised Canuck Place clinicians who have experience with the massage therapy practicum. In this descriptive phenomenological inquiry, semistructured interviews and thematic analysis were used. The findings demonstrated that Canuck Place clinicians valued the massage therapy practicum for its practical support in terms of creating access to massage therapy and self-care in the hospice. Massage therapy was also valued for supporting physical wellness (injury prevention/maintenance and symptom management) and psychosocial wellness (supporting dignity, interconnection, intraconnection, and rest/relaxation and providing a source of comfort/nurturing). This study is the first to explore clinicians’ perceptions of massage therapy within a pediatric hospice and contributes to understanding massage therapy’s potential role in the support of children, families, and staff within a hospice setting.

Deetria Egeli, RMT, MRSc, is master’s degree student, Faculty of Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Lesley Bainbridge, BSR(PT), MEd, PhD, is associate professor emeritus, Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Tanice Miller, BScN, MALT, is director, Program Development and Administration, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

James Potts, BPE, MPE, PhD, is clinical epidemiologist and clinical assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics (Cardiology), The University of British Columbia, and Director of Research, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Address correspondence to Deetria Egeli, RMT, MRSc, Faculty of Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of British Columbia, 212-2177 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T-1Z3 (

Deetria Egeli was supported by a scholarship from the Registered MassageTherapists Association of British Columbia. The rest of the authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

This study received ethical approval from the University of British Columbia’s Behavioral Ethics Review Board (H17-00688). All participants provided informed consent prior to participating in the study.

Online date: May 31, 2019

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.