Use of emotional touchpoints as a method of tapping into the experience of receiving compassionate care in a hospital setting

Belinda Dewar, Richard Mackay, Stephen Smith, Simon Pullin, Ria Tocher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)


Improving the patient and family experience in hospital and supporting people to deliver compassionate dignified care is a priority on the policy agenda in the UK. The purpose of this paper is to describe our experiences of using the method of emotional touchpoints to learn about compassionate care in hospital settings. This work is part of the Leadership in Compassionate Care Programme which is using an action research approach to embed compassionate care in practice and education. Data were generated using the touchpoint method from 16 patients and 12 relatives from a range of care settings that included medicine for the elderly, older people’s mental health and a stroke unit. The benefits of using this approach include its ability to help practitioners to see in a more balanced way both the positive and negative aspects of an experience, and to help service users to take part in a meaningful and realistic way in developing the service. Significant learning arose from these stories that has directly influenced change on the wards. The changes have not only focused on practical solutions but have also provided a platform for discussing some of the more complex cultural aspects that contribute to the delivery of compassionate care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • action research
  • caring
  • compassionate care
  • emotion
  • emotional touchoints
  • patient stories

Cite this