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Compassionate Touch Contributes to Compassionate Care

Touch

“Touch is the most prominent language in the caregiving relationship. Every act of caregiving involves touch. It is an action that validates life and gives hope to both the giver and the receiver. The healing of touch is reciprocal.”— Irene Smith

Among the complementary therapies provided to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton patients is soothing, relaxing massage therapy. Licensed Massage Therapists Amy Fluty, Amy Green and Jo Monroe have concentrated on enhancing their massage skills to better benefit hospice patients. First they focused on earning certification as Compassionate Touch Practitioners. “In the fall of 2015 we took Compassionate Touch classes 1 and 2 to earn certification,” explains Amy Fluty. “We learned a hands-on approach for those in eldercare and hospice. Compassionate Touch combines focused touch, compassionate presence and sensitive massage and specialized communication skills. We were extremely fortunate that the owner of Compassionate Touch, Ann Caitlin, LMT was our instructor.”

In the spring of 2016 the trio traveled to San Francisco for Class 3: Compassionate Touch (Everflowing) Hospice certification. The program is taught by Irene Smith, a pioneer in hospice massage who worked with U.S. hospice innovator  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross at the beginnings of hospice care. “Irene Smith, CMP, is the founder of Everflowing technique,” Fluty explains. “Her educational outreach program is dedicated to teaching mindful touching as an integral component to end of life care.”

The massage practitioners learned the special tactile needs of dying persons and to present skills, techniques and personal practices for adapting touch and massage into a dying person’s care. “We learned ways to achieve more comfort at the bedside and clarify feelings concerning death and dying,” Fluty says. “Our role has the greatest value when we can provide a calm and compassionate treatment that reduces the need for medication, eases anxiety and adds to patient comfort.”

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