Compassionate Touch® Delivered by Long-term Care Staff for Residents with Dementia: Preliminary Results

Academic Article


  • Limited evidence supports the use of touch or massage for people with dementia. Interventions incorporating a person-centered approach to touch delivered by staff may benefit residents with dementia and staff in long-term care settings. The Compassionate Touch® (CT) program provides protocol-based, skilled human touch and compassionate presence. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore experiences and perspectives of staff who provided the CT intervention to residents with dementia three times per week for three weeks. Five staff and five residents with dementia in memory care settings participated in the study. Staff were individually interviewed after the three-week intervention, and NVivo 11 software was used for thematic analysis. Although the findings of the present study are preliminary, staff who delivered the CT program perceived positive impacts on themselves and residents with dementia. Programs such as CT may benefit staff and residents with dementia by promoting positive social interactions and giving joy within staff-resident dyads, increasing staff self-efficacy in caring for residents with dementia and residents’ responsiveness and calmness, and meeting residents’ needs for human touch and affection. Further rigorous studies are needed to measure effectiveness of the CT program on psychosocial outcomes of residents and care-related outcomes of staff.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Han A; Kunik ME; Richardson A
  • Start Page

  • 685
  • End Page

  • 692
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 5