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Transforming Relationships Through the Power of Compassionate Touch
Alicia Fenstermacher

By: Alicia Fenstermacher on November 13th, 2015

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Transforming Relationships Through the Power of Compassionate Touch

Health & Aging  |  Housing & Development

HealingPowerTouchPresbyterian Senior Living (PSL) is pleased to announce a new approach to resident service and engagement, Compassionate Touch®—an evidence-informed approach combining skilled touch with compassionate presence to enhance quality of life for those in later life stages. It is a way of relating that helps bring true change to the lives of our elders through the power of human touch. The gentle techniques used in Compassionate Touch® include focused touch, hand massage, slow-stroke back massage, and foot massage. Compassionate Touch® brings together the world of medical technology with the human side of care—transforming relationships.
In October, thirty-eight PSL team members participated in two one-day seminars to receive training to become Compassionate Touch® trainers at their respective communities. During the workshop, they were taught skills focused on engaging and building relationship with the residents they serve. With Compassionate Touch®, it starts with approach—asking permission to spend time with the individual and offering to help relieve tension in his or her back, feet, or hands with gentle touch. Being present and focused is going beyond being task-centered. It changes the focus from procedural touch to human touch. This conveys that we not only care for the individual, but also care about the individual. It builds relationships and increases trust between residents and their caregivers.  
Research has shown that Compassionate Touch® reduces pain, anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness, and increases feelings of worth, value, and humanity. It has the potential to reduce resident stress and prevent senior falls, leading to medication use.
At present, the following Presbyterian Senior Living locations are Certified Compassionate Touch® communities:

We congratulate the new trainers and look forward to how this new approach to service and engagement will enhance the lives of those we serve.

View our SlideShare on the healing power of touch and how it can be used to transform relationships.

About Alicia Fenstermacher

Alicia Fenstermacher has been working in Aging Services for over 20 years, 14 years of which have been with PSL. As the Senior Corporate Director of Purposeful Living, Alicia is responsible for supporting successful aging, quality of life, and purposeful living initiatives such as Wellness, Customer Satisfaction, Memory Care, Social Work Services, Culture Change, and Community Life. She is a licensed Social Worker, licensed Nursing Home Administrator, and licensed Personal Care Home Administrator. Alicia lives in the Lehigh Valley with her husband Jeff, son Mattias, stepson Maverick, and two dogs named Freddie Mercury and Bebe’ Le Strange. Passionate about the importance of relationships and individual empowerment, Alicia is all about embracing our own “unique-us.”