massage, still done?

  1. My fellow workers had a discussion last night on massage theropy for pts. I remember years ago when the nurse came in every night and ask if I needed a back rub, last night a pt ask a nurse to do this and my fellow nurse told him he did not feel comfortable giving rubs. I know we are very busy but would a simple back or leg rub have been theraputic? I have only been a nurse a short time and have never been ask by a pt to do this and would like to know If it is still a practice in your hospital. I personally do not feel at all uncomfortable giving a rub if I where to be asked by a pt, I think being in bed for a long period of time warrants this simple comfort measure.

    What do you think?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Lacie
    If I had time available I always offered it to my pts if anything for the mere fact it does give great time to do some assessment before them going down for the night. I'm not there during the bath times and usually the techs/cna's do them these days so never know when you may pick up on something during a simple backrub. I do think you would see this from your older pts who are used to the old days when this was routine to be done. It doesnt hurt to offer the pt a simple comfort such as a backrub which I think many facilities lack today due to becoming so cost concious (sp) and technical comparitive to a few years back.
  4. by   Tweety
    Yep, back in the old days 3-11 nurse had to offer a back rub to every patient. No more.

    During a bath, I'll I'll spend a little extra time on the back, and rub some lotion. But I don't routinely offer back rubs. Certainly if time allowed and a patient asked I wouldn't feel uncomfortable.
  5. by   santhony44
    I went to school in the "old days" and we learned to give them and yes, to offer them to patients, particularly those on bed rest.

    I agree that they are an excellent way to assess the skin and patients really do love them!

    I don't think the back rub that we learned and did is really massage therapy, and it should not be deep muscle massage at all. The professional massages I've had are a far cry from a back rub- a really good one tends to make my muscles sore and goes under the category "feels good when it quits hurting!" A back rub from a nurse should be more soothing and relaxing.

    Rubbing a leg might be a bit different- you would want to be sure there were no signs or symptoms of thrombosis.
  6. by   TazziRN
    I don't have a problem giving massages either but I can see why a male nurse would not feel comfortable.
  7. by   jenrninmi
    As a l&d nurse, yes, I do rub the patient's back all the time. What ever she needs. In Neuro/Trauma...no, I wouldn't have felt comfortable with it.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    There's no way I have the time to give backrubs, period. I work 7p-7a; if they want a nighttime backrub, it just can't come from me. That's not saying I refuse to apply lotion to someone's back if they tell me it's itchy, but I have so many meds and assessments to do during those hours they're gonna have to ask a family member to do that for them, or potentially a care tech.

    Would love to have the time for this, but it ain't gonna happen as long as the patient load and staffing is what it is
  9. by   HM2VikingRN
    Backrubs to promote circulation are still in the MN BON standards. (Massage was part of our bed bath test out). FYI
  10. by   athena55
    Hello All.
    Well, I am one of those nurses who still offer any and all patients a back-rub. I usually go around after my ten o'clock meds have been passed and before night shift comes in for report ( I work eight hour evenings, sigh...wishing we did 12 hours). Takes me maybe 5 minutes/patient, also gives me a chance to talk to patients that I didn't "have" that shift.
    And, well, call me crazy but....I also walk around between 1800 -2000 hours and offer the patients (those who aren't NPO, of course) sugar-free hot chocolate or a cup of tea. Can't put the kettle on, but can put in 5-6 cups of water into the microwave. Not everyone will want the back-rub or the cuppa, but I offer.
    I think, sometimes, we professional nurses can become so darn busy what with admissions, discharges, transfers in and out, visitors, passing meds and just doing "stuff" that we forget what the science of nursing is all about: the Art of Touch.
    Respectfully,
    athena
  11. by   nservice
    When I worked nights, I never had time to give back rubs until well after midnight, so I never gave back rubs. I do wonder, though, if this is a wise practice with all of the accusations of "improper touching". I agree that this form of therapeutic touch can be healing. I'm just not sure it's safe to do in these "sue happy" days.
  12. by   HealingHands327
    YOUR KIDDING RIGHT?! back rubs in America 2006? well if your a female nurse it's you'll probably be able to perform it safely, but there's still a stigma going on with male nurses, since the idea is relatively new and since males are generally viewed as predators, i'd avoid it.

    To give a back rub as a male nurse invites the possibility of a lawsuit. If the patient complains of inappropriate conduct, what are you gonna tell BON? "I was giving the patient a massage sir" yeah right.....

    Last edit by HealingHands327 on Jan 13, '07
  13. by   SuesquatchRN
    In LTC there isn't time for what would be a nice thing. My residents are generally starved for affection and tenderness, and when I talk with them I often rub their necks and shoulders. They really like the contact.

    But a formal back rub at bed time? That would be wonderful, but with 42 residents deficient in most ADL's, 4 aides, and two nurses, it's but a dream.
  14. by   CaLLaCoDe
    Yes for sure!

    As a night nurse I will often use massage to quiet a confused patient or a patient having difficulty with sleep...works wonders. Of course for a sore back too. I am grateful when my aide offers this to my patients; we usually have a quiet night ;-)

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