Patient hand massage by volunteers


Proposer: Groene Hart Hospital
Implementation: Oct 2015

Project description

Every day, volunteers working at the Groene Hart Hospital offer patients in 12 therapy departments a hand massage. The massage is for relaxation. Nurses are also trained in this. The massage uses essential oils, so aromatherapy is also contributing to relaxation. Massages can be used widely. Not only do the patients get a massage, it is also sometimes given or taught to a loved one. District nurses and Pluszorg workers in the Groene Hart region are now also having massage lessons. Massages are also being given to members of the public during hospital open days, and even to nurses themselves on working days.


Patients feel more visible and listened to thanks to the massages, time and personal attention that volunteers and nurses give them. Research presented at the National Palliative Congress in Lunteren has shown that the relaxation achieved reduces stress and sometimes even pain. Patients feel welcomed and spoilt, and the entire hospital stay is a better experience. Patients were less restless following massages, and tolerated their treatment better.

For relatives who were able to give their loved one a massage, this helped connect with the patient in an alternative way, and to feel less helpless. For relatives who gave their loved ones a massage during the wake, this also helped later with the grieving process.

Impact on the healthcare professional

An internal survey produced almost entirely positive responses. Care providers see patients enjoying themselves and becoming calmer, more relaxed. As a result, they needed attention less often. Healthcare professionals who learned the technique used massage in some cases to get a conversation going.

Massages are often given by volunteers. Patients are sometimes still interrupted during the massage, for nursing procedures or examinations.

Impact on healthcare institution

Groene Hart Hospital is showing its hospitality and that the patients are seen, heard and appreciated.


Groene Hart Hospital
Bleulandweg 10
2803 HH Gouda

Project contact person:
Ineke Akkerman (nurse having hospital-wide focus on palliative care)

Other project team members:
Reshma Jagroep (voluntary work coordinator)
Karin van Assen (lung specialist)
Arna Hoogerwerff (team leader)

Hand massage