This site uses cookies to measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs and also uses cookies to help remember the notifications you’ve seen, like this one, so that we don’t show them to you again. If you could also tell us a little bit about yourself, this information will help us understand how we can support you better and make this site even easier for you to use and navigate.

The effects of slow-stroke back massage on minutes of nighttime sleep in persons with dementia and sleep disturbances in the nursing home: a pilot study


Harris, Melodee, Richards, Kathy Culpepper, Grando, Victoria T.


Journal Of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal Of The American Holistic Nurses' Association, Volume: 30, No.: 4, Pages.: 255-263

Year of Publication



Purpose: This pilot study tested the effects of a 3-minute slow-stroke back massage (SSBM) on total minutes of nighttime sleep on persons with dementia with sleep disturbances aged 65 years or older in the nursing home.; Design: Pilot randomized controlled trial.; Methods: Participants were randomized to an intervention group (n = 20) who received the 3-minute SSBM or a usual care control condition group (n = 20) who received usual bedtime care. Forty-eight hours of actigraphy data was recorded and analyzed on sleep variables at baseline and postintervention.; Findings: Descriptive statistics showed a 36-minute increase on minutes of nighttime sleep in the SSBM intervention group (46.1 minutes) compared with the control group (10.32 minutes). Analysis of covariance did not reveal significant differences between the intervention and control groups on minutes of nighttime sleep, F(1, 37) = 1.90, p = .18, partial η(2) = .05, or on other sleep variables.; Conclusions: Dose-finding studies are needed to determine the duration of SSBM for sleep promotion. Findings from this pilot study suggest that SSBM may be an effective nursing intervention for sleep in persons with dementia in the nursing home, but further testing is needed to provide definitive results.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Harris_2012, doi = {10.1177/0898010112455948}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {sep}, publisher = {{SAGE} Publications}, volume = {30}, number = {4}, pages = {255--263}, author = {M. Harris and K. C. Richards and V. T. Grando}, title = {The Effects of Slow-Stroke Back Massage on Minutes of Nighttime Sleep in Persons With Dementia and Sleep Disturbances in the Nursing Home: A Pilot Study}, journal = {Journal of Holistic Nursing} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, back, dementia, female, geriatric nursing, homes for the aged, humans, male, massage, methods, nursing, nursing homes, pilot projects, rehabilitation, sleep, sleep disorders, southeastern united states, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes



Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions