The effects of hand massage on stress and agitation among people with dementia in a hospital setting : a pilot study

Schaub, Corinne (HESAV School of Health Sciences, HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland) ; Von Gunten, Armin (Department of Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital (SUPAA, CHUV, FBM), Prilly, Switzerland) ; Morin, Diane (Faculty of Nursing Sciences Université, Laval, Québec, Canada ; Institute of Higher Education and Research in Health (IUFRS)University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland) ; Wild, Pascal (Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne and University of Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland ; INRS, Vandoeuvre Les Nancy Cedex, France) ; Gomez, Patrick (Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne and University of Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland) ; Popp, Julius (Department of Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital (SUPAA, CHUV, FBM), Prilly, Switzerland ; Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland)

Agitation in people with dementia is a growing concern as it causes distress for both patients and their nurses and may contribute to relational disorders. Previous studies involving patients with dementia living in long-term care facilities have reported decreased agitation following massage. The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of hand massage on agitation and biological markers of stress in patients with dementia hospitalized in an acute geriatric psychiatry service. In this randomized controlled trial we included 40 agitated patients with dementia with an intervention group and a control group. The study is designed to test the effect of seven hand massages over three continuous weeks on agitation and levels of salivary cortisol (sC) and alpha-amylase (sAA). Compared to the control group, the intervention group exhibited larger increases in sC and sAA at week 1 from before to after the massage, but larger decreases at week 2 and 3, with a significant group effect for sAA at week 2. Agitation scores were not significantly different between the groups but tended to decrease more in the intervention group than the control group. This study provides first encouraging results suggesting that hand massage might have beneficial effects on stress and agitation in hospitalized patients with dementia. It also highlights the challenges associated with conducting such studies with this complex patient population. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and the benefits of hand massage as part of routine care for patients with dementia.

Article Type:
Soins infirmiers
Unité de recherche en santé, HESAV
Soins infirmiers
14 p.
Published in:
Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback
Numeration (vol. no.):
2018, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 319-332
Appears in Collection:

 Record created 2019-02-18, last modified 2020-10-27

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