A volunteer recruitment drive is underway to enable more hospice patients and carers to benefit from complementary therapy,
There are currently 18 volunteers who gift their time and skills to deliver a range of complementary therapies to patients and their carers at St Giles Hospice in Whittington near Lichfield.
But the team of dedicated therapists are hoping to find up to eight more volunteer professionals to meet the high demand for treatments.
Aimee Allwood, who offers massage therapy one morning a week to patients at the hospice, said she began volunteering after staff looked after her nan who was dying of cancer in 2013.
“I adore my work at St Giles,” said Aimee. “It all began when I lost my best friend – my nan – to cancer. I couldn’t thank St Giles enough for the love, care and support they gave her. She wasn’t there for long but they managed to make her as comfortable and relaxed as they could. I wanted to give some care and support back so I began volunteering and, four years on, I’m still here.
“I feel I’ve achieved my goal when a patient or carer enters the room very uptight and stressed and leaves with shoulders dropped and a smile on their face. That feeling of being able to make someone smile again is great and I’d encourage anyone with the skills who can spare the time to come and help.”
Another volunteer therapist Roma Cooper-McNamara said: “St Giles feels like a family. All the therapists that have made personal gifts of their time create one big heartfelt service.
“It’s very satisfying to know that you have in some small way made someone’s day better.”
Amy Moore, Volunteer Services Manager at St Giles, said the team were looking for eight new volunteers who need to be qualified in either massage, aromatherapy or reflexology. Applicants should be trained in two of these three therapies or one of them, plus reiki, Indian head massage or breathing/relaxation techniques.
“Our aim is to use complementary therapy to enhance care for all St Giles clients,” said Amy. “As part of the emotional and wellbeing support we provide to patients and their families we work on areas of discomfort and pain, helping people introduce coping strategies that work for them.
“The complementary therapy volunteers work as an integral part of our team, benefiting from innovative working practices, regular peer supervision and reflection sessions, plus occasional training.”
The last recruitment drive held for therapists increased the number of clients seen on the inpatient unit at St Giles by 282 per cent and in the outpatient unit by 143 per cent. Amy added: “We’re looking for therapists who want to be part of a team that help people live as well as they can.”
If you’d like to find out more you can attend one of two open sessions being run at St Giles Hospice Whittington on Thursday, October 5 from 6-7pm or on Tuesday, October 10 from 11-12pm. Please contact Amy Moore on 01543 434546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org