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.
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