giving a massage after a bath..?

  1. We start clinicals in a week and we were told by our instructor that we are required to give our patient a massage after their sponge bath. Is this normal?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   Achoo!
    Back massages are considered therapies at the hospital where my group is, along with foot rubs, lotion, and heat packs. It is listed seperate from hygeine.
  4. by   sameasalways
    I guess it is just me but it reminds me of the sexual stereotypes that some have of nurses. And if a nurse had ever given me a back massage while I was hospitilized I would have seriously questioned her behavior (if she was hitting on me...or worse). Our school's philosphy is the same though.. that it is therapeutic. I had never heard of it before so I thought I would check.
  5. by   santhony44
    Wouldn't this be the same as a back rub?

    We learned to do those when I was in nursing school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They were done after the bath and, often, at bedtime. It is relaxing for the patient, is a comfort measure, and offers an excellent opportunity to assess the skin.

    Nothing sexual about it. I don't recall ever having a patient misinterpret a back rub as anything sexual.
  6. by   Daytonite
    Boy! Has nursing changed. When I was in nursing school, back and foot massages were taught as part of the AM and PM care. It was done to stimulate the circulation of people who were confined to bed. Do they even teach what AM and PM care are anymore? Probably not as times have changed and everything is about getting the patient in and out of the acute hospital ASAP. Thank you Medicare and the insurance companies. We were also taught to give a back massage to patients who were upset as a measure to help calm them down. Now, you seldom see nurses do this. It was also an opportunity to talk with your patient. If you see a small bottle of skin lotion still being included in the admission packs given to patients--this is why it is there--a remnant of an old tradition.

    The back massage, or we just called it a back rub, is not a complicated thing. A little lotion on your hands which you rub together to warm the lotion and then some effleurage of the back while the patient is lying on their side, prone or sitting up. Takes maybe 5 minutes and doesn't have to be as complicated as these links show.
    A back massage was done as a routine after giving the patient their morning care (bath and oral hygiene). You then applied a clean patient gown. Many patients looked forward to this. It was done again before bedtime as part of HS care as well when the patient's draw sheet (you probably don't know what that is either) was changed on their bed. Next time the movie Rear Window is on TV watch while Jimmy Stewart's home nurse gives him a back rub with rubbing alcohol (this was also used) at the very beginning of the movie. This was a very common procedure done by nurses as part of patient care before staff ratios and insurance companies got to be more important issues than the patient.
  7. by   elkpark
    Quote from Daytonite
    Boy! Has nursing changed. When I was in nursing school, back and foot massages were taught as part of the AM and PM care. It was done to stimulate the circulation of people who were confined to bed. Do they even teach what AM and PM care are anymore? Probably not as times have changed and everything is about getting the patient in and out of the acute hospital ASAP. Thank you Medicare and the insurance companies. We were also taught to give a back massage to patients who were upset as a measure to help calm them down. Now, you seldom see nurses do this. It was also an opportunity to talk with your patient. If you see a small bottle of skin lotion still being included in the admission packs given to patients--this is why it is there--a remnant of an old tradition.

    The back massage, or we just called it a back rub, is not a complicated thing. A little lotion on your hands which you rub together to warm the lotion and then some effleurage of the back while the patient is lying on their side, prone or sitting up. Takes maybe 5 minutes and doesn't have to be as complicated as these links show.
    A back massage was done as a routine after giving the patient their morning care (bath and oral hygiene). You then applied a clean patient gown. Many patients looked forward to this. It was done again before bedtime as part of HS care as well when the patient's draw sheet (you probably don't know what that is either) was changed on their bed. Next time the movie Rear Window is on TV watch while Jimmy Stewart's home nurse gives him a back rub with rubbing alcohol (this was also used) at the very beginning of the movie. This was a very common procedure done by nurses as part of patient care before staff ratios and insurance companies got to be more important issues than the patient.
    Ditto!
  8. by   StudentNurseAbby
    I do that with all of my patients. It was highly recommended by our instructors and a lot of my patients ask before I even get to it. I just massage their backs with lotion. It really helps them out, a lot of them are on bed rest, I'm sure it feels good, so I do it.
  9. by   CT Pixie
    Quote from santhony44
    Wouldn't this be the same as a back rub?

    We learned to do those when I was in nursing school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. They were done after the bath and, often, at bedtime. It is relaxing for the patient, is a comfort measure, and offers an excellent opportunity to assess the skin.

    Nothing sexual about it. I don't recall ever having a patient misinterpret a back rub as anything sexual.
    Well I guess if they taught it to you when the dianosaurs roamed, the old saying is true 'everything old is new again" because I am in nursing school now and that was one of the FIRST things were were taught when we were taught personal care and again when taught assessment.. they emphasized that it was a great time and way to assess the skin, promote comfort, ease stress and relax the patient. Not to mention the benefits of up-ing the circulation to the area. I was taught to give a back rub back in the day when i became a CNA too.

    I always give a back, foot and hand massage during AM care when in clinicals. Of course I have the time since I only have one patient assigned to me. But even when a CNA with a heavy pt load, I always gave a back rub w/lotion to my residents during AM care.

    Oh BTW, Daytonite, no fears, how to perform AM and PM care, what a draw sheet is and what its used for and how to give a theraputic massage was all taught to me in my nursing class. I guess I'm lucky in that I attend a school that still teaches basic nursing care. I do know of some friends who attended different schools and they weren't taught those things..uggh! you are so right about thanking the insurance companies..don't waste time doing it, just get them in and out ASAP
    Last edit by CT Pixie on Oct 6, '07
  10. by   canoehead
    Massage of anything is a great thing, but my patients usually need a foot soak or hairwash more.
  11. by   MB37
    We were "taught" how and where to give a massage/back rub, but my instructor was laughing while she gave the lecture. She said we'd NEVER get the chance to do that as nurses in today's environment. We never got to practice in lab or anything Also, at my clinical hospital, they use these "bath bags" that you stick in the microwave. There's no soap or water involved. I did have an ex-boyfriend who was an RN and gave great massages - he said he learned the technique in NS.
  12. by   Silverdragon102
    Here in the UK wish I had time to do back rubs, took all our time just to find time to do basic care. Unfortunately staffing levels just didn't let us look to do more care
  13. by   GeauxNursing
    we were told that it is sometimes nice to do this for a pt, shows that we do care for them. ask them if they want it, simple as that.
  14. by   Agnes Anne
    I try to offer a quick foot massage when checking for pedal pulses and edema. I'm already there, have the covers untucked and have their sox or booties off so why not?. I think it's a nice way to end the assessment... most folks have SUCH dry feet!

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