The effect of hand massage on preoperative anxiety in ambulatory surgery patients

AORN J. 2013 Jun;97(6):708-17. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2013.04.003.


Anxiety in patients awaiting surgery and diagnostic procedures in an ambulatory department can affect the patient's physiological and psychological well-being and outcome. We conducted a quasi-experimental study at a midwestern US community hospital to determine the effects of hand massage on patient anxiety in the ambulatory surgery setting. We also investigated whether adding the hand massage procedure affected the timing and flow of procedures. The results indicated that hand massage reduces anxiety for patients awaiting ambulatory surgery and outpatient procedures. Participants who received hand massage experienced lower anxiety levels than those who received customary nursing care. In addition, the performance of hand massage did not affect the flow or timing of procedures. Hand massage is an easy procedure for nurses to learn and administer, and it is within the scope of perioperative nursing practice.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Massage*
  • Preoperative Period