Susan Burns examines the practice and implications of using touch as a form of non-verbal communication with patients who are in distress
This article explores the positive effects of touch, in particular the benefits and implications of giving comfort through touch to distressed individuals in aggressive situations. This type of touch can be regarded as therapeutic communication. It is integral to the wider range of non-verbal communication skills, and acknowledges cultural and social differences. The article describes ethical principles in the practice of touch, clinical decision making, nursing team dynamics and the implications of staff training. Throughout, the terms ‘nurse’ and ‘patient’ are used, but the principles described relate to any relationship between service user and service provider.
Mental Health Practice. 19, 3, 27-33. doi: 10.7748/mhp.19.3.27.s18Correspondence
This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism softwareConflict of interest
Received: 17 March 2014
Accepted: 31 March 2015
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