Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2019

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44 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 9 than at baseline, but massage three times per week for two weeks was not better than once per week as hypothesized. The program exit surveys provided meaningful feedback about the program's acceptability for this population and allowed participants to suggest ways to improve program implementation. Four themes emerged from qualitative analysis of exit interviews for those who completed the program: physical benefits, emotional benefits, enhanced caregiving capacity, and improved health care experience. Participants referred to pain and tension relief, better sleep, and relaxation from the massages (physical benefits). In addition, nearly all participants indicated that their mental health improved during the program (emotional benefits). Several participants also indicated the massage- induced breaks helped them rejuvenate, have a better attitude, and feel more focused with their caregiving responsibilities (enhanced caregiving capacity). Finally, participants indicated that being a part of the study and being able to participate in the massage program benefited their perception of the hospital and the care team. Several highlighted quotes from the exit interviews pointed to the appreciation participants had of being valued and affirmed as a caregiver by the hospital and the program (improved health care experience). Scheduling the massages was a major challenge for participants and the research team. Appointment availability was limited due to the two therapists' schedules, and while this challenged the once-per-week participants, it was doubly challenging for those who were supposed to schedule three per week. Participants suggested massages be scheduled per their admitted family member's treatment schedule and to extend the program to inpatient families regularly for the duration of the stay. Ultimately, participants of the study thought the program should be available to all patient caregivers and that everyone should be robustly encouraged to take part and get the massages. In this case, participants seemed to advocate for the hospital to take up the "self-care for the caregiver" (put your mask on first) message for the overall good of patient care. STUDY APPLICATIONS There are many applications to massage practice one can glean from this research and article. One is obvious and was the intro premise for this column: self- care for the caregiver. The other two applications I'd like to touch on relate to therapist scheduling-related challenges and massage-application protocols. In the last issue ("Massage for Young People with Cystic Fibrosis," July/August 2019), we discussed the various usages and application of massage protocols in research and practice. 8 This study is a nice example of an intervention protocol that bridges both application scenarios (research and support for early careers or novel situations) in that it provides a standardized framework for each massage session, so there is a foundation of measurable consistency between each applied intervention—while also allowing for clinician decision making and individual needs tailoring, which is reflective of real-world practice. The article includes the massage protocol as a table, which allows for replication and adaptation in future research or as a guide to evidence- based practice treatment planning. Several challenges exist for massage- program implementation into hospital settings, whether implementation is for service, care-team treatment application, or research purposes. With more massage programs becoming available in hospital and similar health-care settings and related research, articles that report feasibility and implementation data do the field an important service. By reporting challenges and barriers faced by the research team, important "lessons learned" are shared that may keep others from having similar issues or help future teams and programs plan for, or successfully meet, those challenges. Scheduling and Compensation Challenges During research, massage therapists are needed to be on standby for patient/participant and medical care/research needs scheduling, but are typically only compensated based on treatment application. This "standby mode" often conflicts with, or at the very least stresses, a therapist's other scheduled clientele and paid and nonpaid life activities. Those interested in being a part of massage research and/ or massage in hospital settings are well advised to be mindful of these scheduling/compensation challenges when designing research protocols or massage programs, or when interviewing to be a part of such research or programs.

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