I have been volunteering as a Hospiscare Complementary Therapist since 2009. When people ask me why I give up my own time to volunteer, I tell them that it’s a privilege to work with the patients and their families and to make some small contribution to their wellbeing at a time when they are going through some of the hardest moments of their lives.
Let me give you an example. I volunteer in the Searle House Day Service the same day each week and so I get to know the patients quite well. There was a man suffering from MND, he was gradually losing his speech, his ability to eat and all movement. Because he was confined to a wheelchair he suffered from lots of muscle pain, particularly in his back and shoulders.
One of the few things that provided relief was his weekly massage with me. Hospiscare have very good facilities for their complementary therapy and I was able to use the equipment to help me support him safely during his massage. Because I saw him regularly I was able to understand his speech when many others couldn’t. Over time I also gave his wife massage and provided a supportive ear when she was at the end of her tether. And whilst I was very sad when he eventually died, I was so glad that I had been able to provide him and his wife with a bit of relief during their hard times.
Sometimes I feel that the carers are almost in more need than the patients. I remember one time a patient’s family member came to see me and the moment she walked through the door she burst into tears! She said it was so good to go somewhere where people understood what she was going through and where she didn’t have to put on a ‘brave face’. I gave her a foot Reflexology and she closed her eyes and totally relaxed. From time to time a tear would trickle down her face but she assured me that she wanted me to continue with the session. Afterwards she said she felt much calmer, like she had had a long refreshing sleep.
Using my skills as a Complementary Therapist to volunteer at Hospiscare has not only helped support people at their most vulnerable times, it has given me a particular personal satisfaction that stays with me every day. It’s so rewarding to be part of this amazing charity.
If you are a hairdresser, reflexologist, aromatherapist, or similar and would like to volunteer as a Complementary Therapist for Hospiscare, we would love to hear from you. Please call Vicky on 01392 688068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.