Aim: To explore the effects of foot massage on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia living in long-term care.
Methods: Seventeen men and 5 women (mean age 84.7 years), with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of clinically significant agitation, received a 10-minute foot massage each day for 14 days. The short form of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI-SF) and the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were completed at baseline, post-test and 2-weeks follow up.
Results: CMAI-SF and RMBPC scores were significantly reduced at post-test and remained significantly lower than baseline at follow up.
Conclusion: This study provides preliminary evidence suggesting that limited short-duration foot massage reduces agitation and related behavioural problems in people with dementia, and that these behaviour changes are maintained after the massage ceases. A randomised controlled trial is required to confirm these findings.