Question: Is routinely administered therapeutic massage effective in
relieving pain in aged care residents with dementia/advanced dementia.
Design: A randomized controlled pilot study.
Participants: Aged care residents (n=10; age=82±7.05 years, length of
stay=36±23 months), recruited from a residential aged care facility with a
diagnosis of dementia/advanced dementia.
Intervention: The intervention group received 10 minutes of therapeutic
massage four times per week for four weeks. Techniques used were
effleurage, kneading and trigger point therapy on an area of chronic pain
with a non-fragrant hypoallergenic cream as the medium. The control
group received no massage. Both groups continued with current pain
Outcome Measures: The PAINAD (Pain Assessment in Advanced
Dementia) observational scale administered pre and post intervention.
Results: Following the intervention, no significant changes in mean
PAINAD scores were found within groups (Control = 5.2 + 3.49, Intervention
= 5.0 + 3.49: p=0.456). However, results suggest that the intervention
group had a greater magnitude of change (1.200 + 1.78) compared to the
control group (0.800 + 2.16), which shows that massage may have had a
greater effect in relieving pain than current treatment protocols.
Conclusion: Therapeutic massage may provide a useful adjunct to the
current pain management in patients with Dementia/Advanced Dementia.
Key Practice Points:
• Massage is known to be a useful in treating stress and agitation
associated with dementia/ advanced dementia.
• Massage can be an adjunct to chronic pain management in these patients.
• Massage was not found to have any side effects in treating chronic pain in
patients with dementia/advanced dementia.