Therapeutic touch: influence on vital signs of newborns
To compare vital signs before and after the therapeutic touch observed in hospitalized newborns in neonatal intensive care unit.
This was a quasi-experimental study performed at a neonatal intensive care unit of a municipal hospital, in the city of São Paulo (SP), Brazil. The sample included 40 newborns submitted to the therapeutic touch after a painful procedure. We evaluated the vital signs, such as heart and respiratory rates, temperature and pain intensity, before and after the therapeutic touch.
The majority of newborns were male (n=28; 70%), pre-term (n=19; 52%) and born from vaginal delivery (n=27; 67%). Respiratory distress was the main reason for hospital admission (n=16; 40%). There was a drop in all vital signs after therapeutic touch, particularly in pain score, which had a considerable reduction in the mean values, from 3.37 (SD=1.31) to 0 (SD=0.0). All differences found were statistically significant by the Wilcoxon test (p<0.05).
The results showed that therapeutic touch promotes relaxation of the baby, favoring reduction in vital signs and, consequently in the basal metabolism rate.