Tactile massage as a nursing intervention in child and adolescent psychiatry: nurses' experiences


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Abstract

Accessible summaryWhat is known about the subject?There is little research on the implementation of tactile massage in child and adolescent psychiatry that describes children's and adolescents' experiences and outcomes. There is also limited knowledge of providing tactile massage in child and adolescent psychiatry.What does this paper add to existing knowledge?This paper describes 10 nurses' experiences of tactile massage as a nursing intervention in child and adolescent psychiatry. The nurses considered tactile massage a non-verbal nursing intervention that could complement other available treatments. It reveals their reflections on the impact of tactile massage on their nursing and on themselves as a person, including the belief that they had developed deepened self-reflection and attentiveness.The nurses highlighted the importance of providing a trusting environment and collaborating with the children and adolescents. They both experienced and observed that tactile massage triggered various physical and mental processes in the children and adolescents, such as improvement in sleep disturbances, an ability to relax in body and mind and a deeper connectedness with their own bodies and feelings.The nurses described instructing next of kin in the use of tactile massage, which they believed could serve as a tool at home, mainly as a way for next of kin to help their children to relax, fall asleep more easily and to deepen connectedness. However, the nurses stressed the need to consider if it was appropriate or desired by the children and adolescents.What are the implications for practice?Tactile massage addresses the individual's emotional and physiological responses and could therefore bring holistic nursing to child and adolescent psychiatry. It could also help nurses in child and adolescent psychiatry to develop their attentiveness and sensitivity in acknowledging the needs of children and adolescents in psychiatric care.Introduction:There is limited research on tactile massage in child and adolescent psychiatry and no studies investigating experiences of providing tactile massage in child and adolescent psychiatry were found.Aim:The aim was therefore to describe nurses' experiences of providing tactile massage as a nursing intervention in child and adolescent psychiatry.Method:Ten nurses trained in tactile massage and employed at five different child and adolescent psychiatry clinics in Sweden participated in a qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim and analysed by qualitative content analysis.Results:Three categories emerged from the analysis. ‘Confirming body and mind’, ‘Building a trusting relationship’ and ‘Instructing next of kin in tactile massage’. Attentiveness to and respect for the integrity of the children and adolescents were essential for creating a trusting relationship with them. Tactile massage was found to trigger various physical and mental processes in the children and adolescents. The nurses reflected on the impact of tactile massage on their nursing and on themselves as a person, stating that it had led to the development of self-reflection and attentiveness.Implications for practice:Tactile massage addresses the individual's emotional and physiological responses and could therefore bring holistic nursing to child and adolescent psychiatry. It might also enhance attentiveness and sensitivity on the part of child and adolescent psychiatry nurses when acknowledging the needs of children and adolescents in psychiatric care.

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