A preference for non-invasive touch in caregiving contexts

  • Ann Katrine Marstrand
  • Jan Svennevig
Keywords: Dementia; Instruction; Parkinson’s disease; Professional care; Touch


This article analyses how a professional caregiver uses touch as a key resource when instructing and guiding a person with Parkinson’s disease. Touch is shown to have both facilitating and controlling functions in the accomplishment of everyday tasks in residential care. We find an orientation to touch as a sensitive action, invading the patient’s intimacy and right to self-determination. First, the semiotic resources occur in a successive order, where touch often occurs only when a verbal or gestural action has failed. Second, less invasive kinds of touch, such as patting, precede more invasive kinds, such as holding and shoving.

How to Cite
Marstrand, A. K., & Svennevig, J. (2018). A preference for non-invasive touch in caregiving contexts. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.7146/si.v1i2.110019