Volunteers supporting patients through complementary therapies

May 2017

Therapy, Volunteering

We take a holistic approach to the care we offer patients who seek the help of Prospect Hospice, and complementary therapies are a key part of the treatment we offer patients. As the word ‘complementary’ suggests, these treatments are intended to work alongside conventional medicine and to bring a sense of calm and wellbeing to patients, and also to the people who support them as carers.

The people who have been at the forefront of delivering complementary therapies for patients are, perhaps surprisingly, a group of highly committed and fully trained volunteers who, for more than ten years, have brought comfort and care to patients on our inpatient unit, day therapy unit and, more recently, at our Wellbeing Centre in Marlborough.

One volunteer, Elisabeth Nuttall, has seen a huge change in the attitude of people who are offered complementary therapies: “It used to raise eyebrows,” she says, “but more often these days, patients will see the benefits that complementary therapies have offered to others and think, ‘if they can benefit from them, perhaps I would too.’”

Patient Mary Hollingshead first found out about complementary therapy through our Open Programme. “I was going through Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy,” she says, “and I was having back problems that caused so much pain that it hurt just to lie down. The team suggested I try Reiki. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I was quite sceptical, but within ten minutes of the first session I felt myself start to relax and it gave me the chance to completely zone out – so I continued with a series of sessions. As a result, when I went for Radiotherapy I was able to mentally take myself back to the treatment room, which helped me to relax and stay calm.” She adds: “You really can’t appreciate the benefits that complementary therapy can have, both physically and mentally, until you’ve tried it.”

The complementary therapies we offer at Prospect Hospice include aromatherapy, massage, Indian head massage, Reiki and reflexology.

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