Jacqui’s story

“It’s so rewarding to be able to bring comfort to someone who is at a distressing time in their life… When I put on my uniform in the morning I feel so proud, and I know that my Mum would be too."
Complementary Therapist at St Clare

“I’m Jacqui and I am a Complementary Therapist at St Clare, and I work as part of the Day Therapy team. My role here at St Clare is to provide another service to patients and their families alongside the other care teams.”

“I am a qualified therapist, registered with the International Institute for Health and Holistic Therapy. The most common treatments that I do at St Clare are Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Reiki.”

“Complementary therapy really helps people to cope better with symptoms such as anxiety, pain, or if they are having trouble sleeping.”

“You often find that family members of patients are also suffering from stress and lack of sleep, so it’s really nice to be able to help different types of people.”

“Having complementary therapy on site at St Clare is just like having a free spa! It gives people a break out of their day and allows time for them to relax and take their mind off everything.”

“I make sure that there is always relaxing music playing in the background and ensure the room is all set up nice before I see anyone.”

“I really enjoy doing treatments for patients staying in the Inpatient Unit, as I find it so rewarding. My fondest memory of being at St Clare is when I was doing a treatment for a lady staying with us, and you could just see the difference in her half way through the treatment – it just completely relaxed her. I came away knowing that I had made a difference to someone, it was such a wonderful feeling.”

“There was a lady that I saw on inpatient unit and I was told that, after my therapy, she had the best night sleep that she’d had in a long time. It was so lovely to hear, I had a grin from ear to ear!”

“I have never worked in a clinical background before coming to St Clare, so it’s really different for me to work with patients.”

“It’s a whole new experience when you’re bringing comfort to someone who is at a distressing time in their life and you get to have that first-hand experience of helping them.”

“I’m able to relate to all the emotions that the family members of patients are going through as I lost my Mum here at St Clare. I feel like having that knowledge of how people are feeling really helps me to do my job better. I also know how scared my Mum was about the whole process of being ill, so I’m able to help give reassurance to the patients too.”

“I’ve just been to see another lady this morning on the inpatient unit and gave her a foot massage. As soon as I walked in you could see on her face that she was really looking forward to seeing me. I know that for this lady, it really helps her feel less anxious as it’s nice for her to have someone different come to visit her that she can open up to.”

“I love that I am able to take a patient’s mind off what’s going on, and just give them time to have a normal chat and relax.”

“I joined in with one of the day therapy sessions the other day and I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I laughed that much. My jaw ached from laughing too much and I was still laughing when I went home that evening. The banter that went on between all the patients and staff was amazing. They all know the outcome of their diagnosis but they are all genuinely so happy and getting on with life.”

“When I first joined St Clare my friends would say to me, ‘Won’t you find working at a hospice sad?’, and to be honest that hadn’t even entered my head.”

“When I’m working here I’m not thinking about how I will feel, I’m thinking about what I can give to others to help them feel better.”

“When you say the word ‘hospice’ the first thing that people think of is sad thoughts but it’s not like that at all.”

“I remember when my Mum was ill, she didn’t want to come to St Clare originally because of that same perception but as soon as she came here the first thing she said was ‘oh, it’s like a hotel here isn’t it?’”

“She was worried about how much it was going to cost her to stay here as she couldn’t believe that you could receive all the care that she did free of charge. Mum would say that it was better than being at a spa and she joked with one of the nurses saying that all she needed was a gin and tonic – the next thing she knew the nurse had brought one in for her! Even now when I am doing treatments on patients they will ask me how much they owe me and I have to remind them that it is all part of the service so they insist on giving a donation instead.”

“When I was here with Mum and I saw that they offered complementary therapy, I just thought to myself how much I would love to help out and get involved. I kept checking the St Clare website to see if they had any jobs available for me, I didn’t mind if it was a voluntary role or not, but when I was offered the job I was so overwhelmed. I was so made up when I got the job and everyone has been so friendly to me, I just love being here.”

“When I drive into the car park in the morning before work I just feel so happy to be here, it’s such a lovely feeling.”

“The team make me feel so valued and I never feel like I’m ‘just’ a complementary therapist amongst all of the experienced doctors and nurses, I feel like I’m helping to do my bit within the team. I still can’t quite believe how lucky I am to work for St Clare, I feel privileged to be a part of such an amazing charity. When I put on my uniform in the morning I feel so proud and I know that my Mum would be too.”

– Jacqui

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