Therapists’ consensus on an infant massage programme for high-risk infants from resource constrained contexts: a delphi study

Gina Rencken, Lauren Perks, Pragashnie Govender


Background: There are various infant massage programmes designed for infants born without complications, but there are limited
options available for caregivers with high-risk infants from a resource-constrained context.
Aim: This study aimed to develop a caregiver-initiated infant massage programme specific for high-risk infants in a resource-constrained
context to facilitate the bonding and attachment process between this dyad.
Method: A three-round Delphi study was conducted with purposively selected physiotherapists and occupational therapists with
experience in the field of high-risk babies in a resource-constrained context. The design of the round one survey was informed by the
available literature, and the subsequent two rounds of surveys were designed based on the prior rounds. Iteration of results was provided
prior to the subsequent rounds.
Results: Attrition between rounds occurred from an initial 14 participants in round one to 8 participants in round three. Consensus on
19 massage strokes were achieved in addition to considerations for implementation of the programme with this population.
Conclusion: The implication of attrition requires further study. Notwithstanding this, an infant massage programme for high-risk
infants was developed with the inclusion of considerations for this dyad’s social and medical context.

Key words: Infant massage, Infant massage programme, High-risk infants, Delphi technique, Bonding.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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