Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

The use of massage to reduce pain and stress associated with retinopathy of prematurity screening

Massage was implemented into a level three neonatal unit in Scotland. The Neonatal Pain, Agitation and Sedation Scale (NPASS) was used to measure the preterm infants’ pain prior to, during and post-retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening. Staff and parents provided feedback/testimonials on their experiences with the massage therapy.

Michelle Brooks
Advanced Specialist Nurse – Neonatal Practice Education

Gill Currie
Advanced Practitioner Neonatal Occupational Therapist

Neonatal Unit, University Hospital Wishaw, Scotland

Brooks M., Currie G.The use of massage to reduce pain and stress associated with retinopathy of prematurity screening. Infant 2023;19(5):174-78.

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retinopathy of prematurity (ROP); preterm infant; NPASS; positive touch; massage therapy; family-integrated care; procedural pain/stress
Key points
  1. Massage can reduce procedural pain for preterm infants.
  2. Massage given to infants and demonstrated to parents in the neonatal unit can provide comfort and reduce pain and stress associated with ROP screening.
  3. No babies experienced any untoward side effects.

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