Carolyn Tague Co-authors Article on Competencies for Hospital Based Massage Therapy
As massage therapy experiences a resurgence of use for hospitalized patients, it is appropriate to consider the competencies needed by practitioners to practice safely and effectively in the inpatient setting. Hospitals differ vastly from other massage practice locations such as private offices, spas, and sports clubs. The variety of conditions encountered in an acute care setting require the knowledge and ability to adapt massage protocols appropriately. The Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) created the Hospital Based Massage Therapy (HBMT) Task Force to determine if there is a need for HBMT specific competencies and then, if needed, to develop peer reviewed competencies that hospital staff, massage therapy educators, and massage therapists all may find useful.
The members of the task force identified massage therapists who worked in hospitals generally, as well as in hospitals known to have HBMT programs. A spreadsheet was created listing the individuals and a survey was distributed to those on the spreadsheet. These individuals were also asked to identify others who might be interested in participating in the project. The purpose of the survey was to assess various elements of HBMT programs such as educational/experience requirements, employment model, orientation, and supervision. 32 out of 37 hospitals (87%) completed the survey. The Task Force considered the high response rate and the extent to which respondents provided in-depth answers to the open-ended questions as evidence of the need for specific competencies for safe and effective massage therapy for hospitalized patients.
In addition to the survey, the task force used a Delphi technique to engage survey participants and other experts in the field to shape the initial draft of the competencies. As these competencies are shared with hospitals, massage therapists, and massage educators, the Task Force members expect that additional development of the competencies will take place as various groups implement them.