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The outcome of tactile touch on oxytocin in intensive care patients: a randomised controlled trial
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2008 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Nursing, ISSN 0962-1067, E-ISSN 1365-2702, Vol. 17, no 19, 2624-2633 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim.  To explore the effects of five-day tactile touch intervention on oxytocin in intensive care patients. The hypotheses were that tactile touch increases the levels of oxytocin after intervention and over a six-day period.

Background.  Research on both humans and animals shows a correlation between touch and increased levels of oxytocin which inspired us to measure the levels of oxytocin in arterial blood to obtain information about the physiological effect of tactile touch.

Design.  Randomised controlled trial.

Method.  Forty-four patients from two general intensive care units, were randomly assigned to either tactile touch (= 21) or standard treatment – an hour of rest (= 23). Arterial blood was drawn for measurement of oxytocin, before and after both treatments.

Results.  No significant mean changes in oxytocin levels were found from day 1 to day 6 in the intervention group (mean −3·0 pM, SD 16·8). In the control group, there was a significant (= 0·01) decrease in oxytocin levels from day 1 to day 6, mean 26·4 pM (SD 74·1). There were no significant differences in changes between day 1 and day 6 when comparing the intervention group and control group, mean 23·4 pM (95% CI −20·2–67·0).

Conclusion.  Our hypothesis that tactile touch increases the levels of oxytocin in patients at intensive care units was not confirmed. An interesting observation was the decrease levels of oxytocin over the six-day period in the control group, which was not observed in the intervention group.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Tactile touch seemed to reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Further and larger studies are needed in intensive care units to confirm/evaluate tactile touch as a complementary caring act for critically ill patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 17, no 19, 2624-2633 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-17135DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02324.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-17135DiVA: diva2:478078
Available from: 2012-01-15 Created: 2012-01-15 Last updated: 2012-06-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Tactile touch in intensive care: Nurses' preparation, patients' experiences and the effects on stress parameters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tactile touch in intensive care: Nurses' preparation, patients' experiences and the effects on stress parameters
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to acquire knowledge about whether tactile touch as a complementary method can (i) promote comfort and (ii) reduce stress reactions during care in an intensive care unit (ICU) Method: In Paper I, five nurses with a touch therapist training were interviewed about their experiences of preparation before giving tactile touch in an ICU. To analyse the meaning of preparation as a phenomenon, Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological approach was used. In Paper II and III a randomised controlled trial was set up to investigate the effects of a five-day tactile touch intervention on patients’ oxytocin levels in arterial blood (II), on patients’ blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose level, and on patients’ levels of anxiety, sedation and alertness (III). Forty-four patients were randomised to either an intervention group (n = 21) or a control group (n = 23). Data were analysed with non-parametric statistics. In Paper IV, six patients who had received the tactile touch intervention were interviewed to illuminate the experience of receiving tactile touch during intensive care. To gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon and to illuminate the meaning, Ricoeur’s phenomenological hermeneutical method, developed by Lindseth and Norberg, was used. Findings: The nurses need four constituents (inner balance, unconditional respect for the patients’ integrity, a relationship with the patient characterized by reciprocal trust and a supportive environment) to be prepared and go through the transition from nurse to touch therapist (I). In the intervention study, no significant differences were shown for oxytocin levels between intervention and control group over time or within each day (II). There were significantly lower levels of anxiety for patients in the intervention group. There were no significant differences between the intervention and control groups for blood pressure, heart rate, the use of drugs, levels of sedation or blood glucose levels (III). The significance of receiving tactile touch during intensive care was described as the creation of an imagined room along with the touch therapist. In this imagined room, the patients enjoyed tactile touch and gained hope for the future (IV). Conclusion: Nurses needed internal and external balance to be prepared for providing tactile touch. Patients did not notice the surroundings as much as the nurses did. Patients enjoyed the tactile touch and experienced comfort. The impact on stress parameters were limited, except for levels of anxiety which declined significantly. The results gave some evidence for the benefit of tactile touch given to patients in intensive care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås och Karlstads Universitet, 2008. 91 p.
Series
Skrifter från Högskolan i Borås, ISSN 0280-381X ; 11
Keyword
complementary method, stress, oxytocin, lifeworld research
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-17138 (URN)978-91-85659-15-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
Högskolan i Borås, Borås (Swedish)
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Supervisors
Note
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, Institutionen för vårdvetenskap. Karlstad: Karlstads Universitet, Avdelningen för omvårdnad.Available from: 2012-06-05 Created: 2012-01-15 Last updated: 2012-06-05Bibliographically approved

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