Clinically improving communication through touch

J Gerontol Nurs. 1991 May;17(5):6-10. doi: 10.3928/0098-9134-19910501-04.


1. Touch is an integral, yet under appreciated, aspect of nursing care. The language of touch includes the tactile symbols of duration, location, action, intensity, frequency, and sensation. 2. Touch is used in different ways: affectional, functional, protective, and non-physical (personal space). The need for touch does not lessen with age. In fact, it may increase due to loss of vision and hearing and increased personal and social isolation. 3. Nursing educators need to recognize the importance of nonverbal communication skills (ie, touch and personal space), and incorporate learning techniques into classroom and clinical experiences.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Touch*