Massage and Compassionate Touch in Dementia Care - Online Inservice

The purpose of this course is to introduce nurses aides in eldercare or hospice and massage therapists to the benefits and practical application of skilled touch as a non-pharmacological, non-invasive, and cost-effective approach in managing special needs and challenging behaviors associated with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.

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Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to: 

  1. Differentiate Compassionate Touch® from other forms of touch therapy. 
  2. Identify caregiver challenges associated with care of elders with mid-stage of Alzheimer’s disease
  3. Define agitated behaviors and identify possible causes. 
  4. Recognize the significance of the human touch in caregiving. 
  5. Relate the benefits of skilled touch related to dementia care.
  6. Identify the general guidelines of using skilled touch with persons with dementia. 
  7. Simulate a hand massage protocol.


Chapter 1: Introduction to Compassionate Touch

  • Define Compassionate Touch® 
  • Compare Compassionate Touch® to other touch therapies

Chapter 2: Caregiver Challenges in Dementia Care

  • Common Caregiver Challenges
  • Mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease characteristics 
  • Agitation

Chapter 3: The Human Touch in Caregiving

  • Types of touch
  • Touch deprivation

Chapter 4: Benefits of Massage and Compassionate Touch

  • Physical benefits
  • Psycho-social benefits
  • Spiritual benefits

Chapter 5: Research Findings About Massage and Dementia Care

Chapter 6: Touch Session Guidelines 

  • Location
  • Permission and initiating a session
  • Length of session
  • Clothing
  • Precautions

Chapter 7: Hand Massage Protocol

  • Touch quality and intention
  • Components of a session
  • Hand massage technique instruction

Chapter 8: Case Scenario

Chapter 9: Resources

Chapter 10: References

Price: $10.00

Contact Hours: 2

Course Author

Ann Catlin

Ann Catlin, OTR, LMT is an acknowledged expert in the field of massage therapy in eldercare and hospice.

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Course Accreditation

Provider approved by the California Department of Public Health, Nurse Aide Certification (NAC) #: 7046.  This document must be retained by the certified nurse assistant for a period of four years after the course completion. Provider approved by the Florida and Wyoming Boards of Nursing-Certified Nursing Assistants, CE Broker Provider #: 50-13256.

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