In 2013 one of our volunteers (Jenny) voiced concerns that hospice clients attending a MS seated exercise class were finding the session less useful due to disease progression. Their weekly visit had proved to be invaluable to their wellbeing. Since becoming a volunteer with the hospice Jenny had done some basic complementary therapy training – reiki, “M” technique and chair massage. In conjunction with colleagues Jenny developed a 12 week programme for both clients and carers. The hour’s session started and finished with a relaxation/visualisation 10 minutes – and the middle section offered a different therapy each week. Jenny recruited trained therapists to gift their time and deliver a range of therapies. For example; massage, reiki, mindfulness, sound baths, reflexology etc.
From the outset the volunteers and therapists involved with the group were encouraged to facilitate a rehabilitative and enabling approach “to actively support patients to integrate self-management behaviours into their daily lives”. (Tiberini, Richardson Pg. 32) Group members evaluated their pain, mobility, general wellbeing and concentration. Also the effect of the session, both immediately and whether it had a longer lasting effect and helped them during the week.
The group has evolved into a sustainable cost effective programme. Every second week Jenny offers a therapy, either with or without additional therapists. On the alternate weeks the group focusses on mindfulness, either with Jenny of if she is unavailable one of the group puts on a mindfulness CD and the group runs itself.
Mindfulness was particularly popular and the Spiritual Co-ordinator has piloted an eight-week programme. Group members have discovered for themselves what therapies they benefit from and therefore might incorporate into their lives. Three group members went onto enrol on a complementary therapy course. Clients say the group experience generates fantastic positive “energy”.
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