Massage is an excellent way to enhance quality of life for a hospice patient. It can help restore feelings of self-acceptance and self-esteem to a person whose body has been invaded by a debilitating, perhaps disfiguring, disease. It addresses feelings of isolation and loneliness. The right touch at the right moment can be far more effective than words in acknowledging a person's suffering, and offering comfort and support. Touch continues to be an appropriate caregiving technique when a person becomes less responsive or is no longer able to communicate verbally. Touch may even become the primary means of communication at such a turning point.
Unconditional human contact in the form of touch acknowledges the reality of a situation. It serves to remind the person nearing death that he or she is still an individual. Touch reinforces the wholeness of the individual, regardless of what may be happening to his or her body and mind. The physical connection reassures the person that he or she is not alone, and it provides an opportunity for self-expression.