Former oncology sister and Iain Rennie nurse Angela Margetts now volunteers as a complementary therapist for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, offering massage or reflexology to our patients and carers.
Angela explains why she decided to become a qualified complementary therapist: “When I was an oncology sister at a local hospital, we had a reflexologist on the ward who would offer a treatment to patients before their chemotherapy session. I was amazed at the difference this made to the patient: not only did it relax them and take their mind off the chemo but it helped them cope with the side effects afterwards. From our point of view as nurses, the increased circulation made the veins more prominent, which in turn made treatment less traumatic for patients.
“Having also worked as an Iain Rennie nurse, I had an insight into the cumulative effects of life-limiting illness on a daily basis. As a community nurse I could see the potential benefits of complementary therapies too. Now I’m retired from nursing and qualified in reflexology and massage therapy, I’m still amazed by those benefits. If they’re new to reflexology, patients and carers are pleasantly surprised too by how much better they feel. The treatments aid relaxation, reduce stress and improve sleep patterns. Reflexology can also assist with side effects from chemotherapy such as nausea and constipation.
“Amidst all the treatments and worry, it’s really valuable for patients and their carers to enjoy some quality time having a positive and pleasant experience. Some carers feel they can’t leave home at all so the chance to relax and chat during a massage or reflexology treatment can give them a huge boost and set them up again to deal with their situation.
“From my point of view, being able to offer these treatments to people at such a vulnerable time is a huge privilege. It’s wonderful to see the positive impact you are having. Going from a full-time job on a busy nursing team to retirement was a bit of a culture shock. Volunteering for two mornings a week as a complementary therapist for Rennie Grove Hospice Care is perfect for me: very rewarding and a good way to ease myself into retirement! We have regular meetings and de-briefings and the team is very friendly. Complementary Therapies Co-ordinator Jackie Finegan accompanies us on every first visit to a new client, and there is always support available.
“We tend to offer a course of six treatments, and it’s really a case of adapting to the patient’s needs and situation. I might offer upper body massage if it’s easier for them to remain seated, or I could do some reflexology if they are bed-ridden.
“If you are qualified in a complementary therapy and have one year’s experience, I urge you to consider joining the Rennie Grove team. Your skills could make such a difference and I guarantee you will benefit too.”