2011 – Inpatient Massage Services at St. Peter’s Hospital

Posted:Friday, March 31, 2017

Alicia Recore, PhD
St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, NY

Introduction: An eighteen month project providing massage services to acute and chronic care patients was conducted at St. Peter’s Hospital inAlbany,New York. Funded by an anonymous donor, it was a collaboration between the hospital and the local Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy.

Objective: The purpose was to evaluate the impact of these services on patients’ symptoms during short and long term stays.

Method: Acute and chronic patients were referred to contracted Licensed Massage Therapists by staff on the Oncology, Stroke/Orthopedic, Rehabilitation, Pulmonary, Cardiac, Ante/Postpartum and Dialysis units. Acute care patients received up to three consecutive 30 minute sessions per week. One to two sessions per patient per week, (six sessions maximum) were offered to patients with chronic disease related symptoms and projected stays of up to two months.

Results: Pre/post measures gauging clinical benefit and patient satisfaction were documented on 625 sessions, involving 268 acute care patients. Clinical Care Unit Coordinators were surveyed on perceived benefit to both patients and staff.

Positive outcomes for acute patients included 70% pain reduction; 53% anxiety reduction; 65% heart rate reduction; 64% blood pressure reduction; 51% respiration rate reduction. Patient Reported Satisfaction scores indicated that over 57% felt massage to be very beneficial in relieving pain/anxiety, improving sleep/mood, and increasing comfort; 100% of all respondents said they would recommend it for other patients. The Coordinators also reported beneficial outcomes, recommending continuation of the program.

While long term evaluation for chronic patients could not be consistently measured due to barriers, the following significant outcomes were recorded for 11 patients over 40 sessions:

Rehabilitation (3): 80% decreased pain; over time significant decrease in depression reported

Oncology (2): 67% decreased pain; 67% decreased anxiety

Complicated Cardiac (5): 90% decreased pain, 47% decreased anxiety; 75% – 95% decreased blood pressure and heart/respiration rates

Dialysis (1): 60% decreased pain, 80% decreased anxiety

In addition to Cardiac patients, 50% of all other patients showed decreased blood pressure and heart/respiration rates; sleep status shifted from awake to drowsy/asleep.

As massage later became integrated into the Labor and Delivery Unit per physicians’ and patients’ requests, outcomes indicated intervals between contractions decreasing by minutes (69%) with duration of contractions increasing by seconds (69%). Progression of labor quickened with patients showing marked physical signs of transition (100%).

Conclusion: The program has since been incorporated into the hospital’s Complementary Therapy Department where it continues to be highly successful six years running.