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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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How did the bedtime back rub come to be associated with nurses? MANY years ago I was doing agency staffing. I got called in to a very fancy private hospital to do a shift. One of my assigned patients rang the call bell. When I went into the room she wanted her "bedtime back rub." Being young and eager to please I gave her a back rub, but the whole thing felt really icky to me. Was there a time when nurses were night time massage people?

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

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Back rubs were considered a part of standard HS care back in the day. I suspect is goes back to the time when beds were not electric. The patient could not reposition themselves by adjusting the bed. Guess what you spent a LOT of time doing?

I don't consider it icky at all. It sucks laying in bed all the time. A backrub is relaxing and helps induce sleep.

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Farawyn has 25 years experience and specializes in A little bit of everything..

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Back rubs were considered a part of standard HS care back in the day. I suspect is goes back to the time when beds were not electric. The patient could not reposition themselves by adjusting the bed. Guess what you spent a LOT of time doing?

I don't consider it icky at all. It sucks laying in bed all the time. A backrub is relaxing and helps induce sleep.

Yep. It was part of PM care every single night. We used lotion...and NO GLOVES.

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3 Followers; 5,663 Posts; 27,718 Profile Views

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.

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Pepper The Cat has 33 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology.

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I will still give back rubs. Lotion, no gloves. It helps to relax them, ease up tense muscles and calm them for a better nights sleep. Nothing icky about it. I also massage backs when helping pts with their morning bath.

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WKShadowNP has 19 years experience as a DNP, APRN and specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education.

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I'm a future COB, but close enough to be one. I remember being taught effleurage and petrissage in school. I find it is an appropriate use of therapeutic touch.

Speaking of which, on the left trap, please, harder.....aaaah.

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40 Posts; 3,765 Profile Views

Back rubs are still taught in my program as part of bathing the patient.

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Eleven011 has 20+ years experience and specializes in Home Health,Dialysis, MDS, School Nurse.

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I remember doing this too. After hs med pass was done, I made a round check and offered backrubs. Some wanted, some not, but it was the normal thing to do. I haven't worked in a hospital for a long time though, so not sure if its still routine.

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Pangea Reunited has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN.

1,547 Posts; 21,506 Profile Views

I don't like it and I don't have time for it. People also ask for foot massages, back-scratching, etc. I always decline, but will ask for a PT order, benadryl, etc. It seems like it's always the creepiest patients asking, too.

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2 Followers; 14,620 Posts; 105,650 Profile Views

When I started practicing, it was a standard part of HS care for every client. Some people turned down the offer, but it was standard nursing care to at least offer it to every client at HS. The point was good skin care as well as promoting relaxation and a good night's sleep. Nothing "icky" about it.

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proud nurse has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Medical Oncology, Alzheimer/dementia.

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It was taught in my LPN program. We even had to place the bottle of lotion in warm water. That was years ago. I'll do it if I have time. And it has been my experience that the patients asking were pretty creepy.

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941 Posts; 16,765 Profile Views

I was taught to do it in nursing school. I never did it personally but see how it can relax someone.

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses

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