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Patients wants a back rub

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by Oceanpacific Oceanpacific (Member)

Oceanpacific has 33 years experience and specializes in Infection Prevention, Public Health.

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Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

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I must be doing something wrong. I do post op sponge baths, it's required by our surgery programme.

we are also expected to change the bedding daily.

I draw the line at feet. No way will they be massaged. Checked for swelling and bogginess in the bed bound, but no massage.

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Steffy44 has 3 years experience.

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We learned to do them in CNA school. However, as a nurse I rarely have time to do massages. If someone asks if I can rub a certain part I do but in between my starting load and discharges, admits and post surgicals there are not enough hours.

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GadgetRN71 has 14 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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I'm all for "touch" when it has a truly therapeutic indication. I do work with a couple of nurses who like to give out "touch" a bit more freely and often share with me on report how much their patient benefited from the massage they gave them (and that this is why they left the trip to CT for me to do). Maybe because I'm a male nurse, male patients sometimes feel it's OK to share their true views on the massage they just got, which essentially involves explaining how they just experienced a real life porn-cliche.

I would not be comfortable giving a back rub. I for one am glad that this has fallen by the wayside. Although, in a bid to improve Press Ganey scores, it wouldn't surprise me if administration reinstated them, along with Happy Endings..😂🙄

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I think it's a thing of the past, when people weren't chained to their computers and phones and pagers. When I was in clinicals in 2012, I rubbed an older woman's feet because she was mostly immobile, I needed to wash them, and she was sweet. So after her "bath" she got lotion and a foot rub (with gloves). Her old lady companion requested one too, which was not so much my job. Seeing as she wasn't a patient. I don't do bedside nursing, though I'm a touchy person and will hold my patient's hand as they go under anesthesia, or put my hands on their leg to reassure them. I don't disagree with it, but we as nurses don't have time. Plus, it's always the creeps that want it. And I don't think it's required at ANY facility. Therapeutic or no, if you're not okay with it because of culture or personal preference, just say NO.

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pebbles has 17 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.

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I will do them if I think a pt will truly benefit and isn't getting relief from other therapies. I actively resist if the pt "expects" it, in the same way they expect hotel service. It's a nicety on top of regular duties that I give if I feel motivated.

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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It just depends on my connection with the patient. I had patients request back scratching or back rubs and I was delighted to oblige them. I also had others that I would refuse. There is no arguing it is an intimate intervention. As a real individual with real abuses in my past, I reserve the right to decide for myself whom I am willing to do intimate acts for, even those that are nonsexual and therapeutic in nature. There was nothing in my job description as a floor nurse that said I was required to have intimate nonsexual contact with a patient. "Because that is how it was always done" has never been a good reason to do things. There is no arguing it is good for the patient. I will happily delegate that to the nurse assistant or discuss plan of care with PT to get the patient taken care of if it is beyond my ability to provide.

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I was taught back rubs in my STNA program in the 90s. Our education coordinator would post signs in staff bathrooms reminding us of things that can easily be forgotten and that was one I remember seeing: "Remember to offer back rubs to residents at bedtime." Later in nursing school, we were taught other massage techniques as well.

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applesxoranges is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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The closest thing is when they would use lotion on intubated patients' backs after bathing. Maybe it counts?

I wouldn't do it in the ER.

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On 7/19/2015 at 8:02 PM, Horseshoe said:

I used to work with post cardiac cath lab patients who'd had angioplasty or stents placed. They came back with the femoral sheath still in their femoral artery. They had to lay flat and still until we could safely pull the sheath. Then we'd place a pressure device called a fem stop on the site to apply pressure to prevent arterial hemorrhage. Again, they had to lay flat and still. This could take hours. A lot of them would tell me their backs were hurting so bad they could hardly stand it. I'd find myself giving pain meds not for chest pain or groin pain, but for back pain. Finally, I starting propping them up with pillows partially on their side (leg still straight), and I'd massage their back for five minutes or so. This was universally LOVED by these patients. I was able to keep them off pain meds by doing this at intervals, and they really appreciated this. I couldn't always do this because of time constraints, but in the case of the patients who were in agony, I tried to find the time.

I remember watching the film Rear View Window, starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. In it, he is homebound by an injury and he has a visiting nurse. His nurse would come in and immediately give him a back rub with some kind of oil. It seemed to be a standard nursing intervention.

I see how this would be a plausible circumstance to perform a therapeutic massage, but on the other hand, couldn't you injure a patient if you don't have some kind of specialized training?  I mean if you're experiencing extreme lumbar pain, you don't necessarily want someone to just go banging around back there.  To my mind the idea of a backrub is a relic, derived from sexist notions of what a nurse is supposed to be.  

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5 hours ago, Nursing1923 said:

I see how this would be a plausible circumstance to perform a therapeutic massage, but on the other hand, couldn't you injure a patient if you don't have some kind of specialized training?  I mean if you're experiencing extreme lumbar pain, you don't necessarily want someone to just go banging around back there.  To my mind the idea of a backrub is a relic, derived from sexist notions of what a nurse is supposed to be.  

There was no “banging around,” lol. 
 

I view this as a relic not as a sexist one, but because I’m betting 99% of nurses simply don’t have time for that given today’s nurse/patient ratios. 
 

BTW, we had several male nurses on our unit that had similar practices. This kind of back pain was common in this  environment, so it wasn’t seen as that much of an odd departure from nursing as it surely would in most units. Nowadays post cath lab units may not require patients to lay flat and straight for so long as we required back in those days.
 


 

 

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1 hour ago, Horseshoe said:

There was no “banging around,” lol. 
 

I view this as a relic not as a sexist one, but because I’m betting 99% of nurses simply don’t have time for that given today’s nurse/patient ratios. 
 

BTW, we had several male nurses on our unit that had similar practices. This kind of back pain was common in this  environment, so it wasn’t seen as that much of an odd departure from nursing as it surely would in most units. Nowadays post cath lab units may not require patients to lay flat and straight for so long as we required back in those days.
 

Treating someone's acute back pain isn't the same as religiously rubbing peoples' back.  That said, if I wanted to relieve muscle pain I would alternate hot and cold compresses.  I'm not putting my hands on anyone without a reason, the same way I wouldn't marry a man and rub his feet like some kind of out of time homemaker.   Back rubs don't fall in line with consent, autonomy, or good practice.  

 

 

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

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Don't know how this old post was resurrected. But since I read it, I had some interesting thoughts.

Re daily changing of hosp bed linens - I was hospitalized 10/2019 in a superlative 1000% facility. Amidst my admission papers was some paper that said something 'if you (I) wanted bed linens changed, just to ask'. As in they weren't going to be ROUTINELY changed. I was AAO, a self-walkie/talkie. I only asked once during my week there - no problem. Now my roommate - she whined & whined and p*ssed & moaned about it!!! You'd thought the world was ending!  I can just imagine HER Press-Gainey!

Re  massages - has anyone ever had the sinful LUXURY of a scalp massage? Like when you go the hair salon and they shampoo your hair in that horrible sink.? Well, I actually fell asleep once!!! Oh, the shampoo massage! And again when I was hosp discharged in October, I had some HHA/CNA help with my shower shampoo. I was seated on a shower bench or else I could have fallen to sleep again!

Also re massages - specifically, could BP benefits be addressed in a student CAPSTONE project??? I think everyone here agrees that there is therapeutic benefits to be had. So why not measure it? A simple BEFORE & AFTER BP on bedbound pts? Easy, peasy, nice & easy  - no cost!!!

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