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Meet Melanie, Complementary Therapy Co-ordinator at the Hospice

26 Jan 2022

Employee Stories

Hi, I'm Melanie and I'm a Complementary Therapy Co-ordinator at the Hospice.

I've been an employed here at the Hospice since 2019, and before that I volunteered as a complementary therapist for two years. I was interested in volunteering as I felt the skills which I have acquired over the years could be put to good use. I studied Clinical Aromatherapy at St Thomas' Hospital in London, which gave me the knowledge and insight of how holistic therapies can be of such a huge benefit for palliative care, as well as many other diseases and ailments.

Melanie, Complementary Therapy Co-ordinator

When the position for Complimentary Therapy Co-ordinator came up, I was enthusiastic to apply for the role and was fortunate enough to be successful. I already knew how rewarding I found my position as a volunteer and so to have the additional responsibilities of being a Co-ordinator was exciting for me. I have not been disappointed in my expectations of the role. It's a pleasure to work in an environment where every member of staff has a caring and kind nature and all of whom go above and beyond in wanting the best for every patient who is cared for by the Hospice.

My daily routine can be varied. I regularly attend the morning rounds in the Inpatient Unit to get updated on each patient's current health status and to be informed of new patient admissions. We will liaise with other members of staff within the meeting, to determine if each new patient may be suitable for receiving complementary therapy treatments. If they are, then the doctors will complete a referral for us which we then need to read through and complete a treatment plan. The treatment plan will be determined by the patient's diagnosis. This is looked into in detail, as well as their medical history for us to be able to list which complementary therapy treatments the patient can/cannot receive.

We will always try our best to see as many patients as we can within a working day. We then document the description of the treatment they have received, benefits of the treatment, mediums used (which oils/creams we used) and any patch test details (used for aromatherapy to ensure patients do not react).

Part of the Co-ordinator role is also to recruit and support a team of complementary therapist volunteers. We need to ensure that they have the necessary qualifications and experience before they join the Hospice, as well as the appropriate personality traits that are suited to working within a palliative care setting. We support the volunteers during the time they are working at the Hospice and will always give a handover to update them on new patient admissions and any changes in health in existing patients.

We are also involved in the Day Services zoom sessions in which we present a session to patients and carers, either a facial or a hand massage and explain the techniques that they can use and apply to themselves to encourage relaxation. We explain and give ideas and suggestions of how they can encourage and improve their general wellbeing.

I can recall an experience with one patient quite vividly as it had quite an impact on me. We were treating him on a regular basis and he really enjoyed and benefited from receiving complementary therapy. We built quite a rapport with him whilst he was at the Hospice. He often told us that we 'brightened up his day' and that the treatments were the 'highlight of his day'.

It was part of his plan to return home and spend the short time he had left in the comfort of his own home. He said the one reason he was apprehensive about doing this was because he would no longer be able to receive treatments from the complementary therapy team. He asked if we were able to visit him at home, which we sadly we couldn't. This really brought home to me the fact that we clearly had made quite an impact on him during his time here at the Hospice and that we made a difference.

The most rewarding part of the job for me is to see how patients truly benefit from receiving complementary therapy. We see this first hand in how the treatments we give, can instil a sense of calm, ease anxiety and improve general wellbeing for the patient.

If you're interested in opportunities at St Peter's Hospice, we'd love to hear from you. Take a look at the roles on our current vacancies page.  

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