We asked Volunteer Complementary Therapist Ally Gerrish about her experience volunteering for The Myton Hospices

Ally has been part of the Complementary Therapy team for 18 months and describes it as one of the most fulfilling things that she has ever done.

Were you already qualified in Complementary Therapy?

I have been qualified in Sound Work and Shamanic Therapy for a number of years and I am currently training in Reiki but I had never before practiced the hands on relaxation techniques that Myton has specially adapted for palliative care, here the therapies are patient led to give them a sense of empowerment and control. I hadn’t previously worked in a hospice or medical environment either but everyone is so welcoming and compassionate.

What training and support did you receive when you joined Myton?

I didn’t expect such a rich body of knowledge and training experiences to be available. The induction programme was highly professional and covered everything that I needed to start the role from a place of confidence. It involved broad training from finding my way around the building to learning hands on Myton relaxation techniques. I then received 1:1 training on the job working with my assigned mentor Jerry who has a wealth of knowledge about palliative care and taught me how to apply what I already knew as well as teaching me new therapeutic techniques. He was very patient with me during the three months that it took for me to be ready and confident to carry out treatments on my own. Still now if I have any concerns or questions Jerry and the team are always on hand to help, I really feel like they’ve always got my back and never feel alone or floundering. We also have bi-monthly team meetings, ongoing mandatory training and specialists coming in to ensure we are up to date with the latest techniques. The continued professional development is fantastic and something that I didn’t expect.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Working with patients at Myton is breathtaking, it’s absolutely amazing. I volunteer on a Wednesday and it is the best day of my week, I feel on cloud nine when I leave. I get so much from being able to help patients to relax and switch off from their anxiety through physical and mental relaxation, they leave the room with a calmer mind and body feeling more relaxed and at ease.

I also love working so closely with the multi-disciplinary team at Myton including nurses, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Art Therapy and Chaplaincy, to share a space with them is incredibly enriching. Myton offers the best mind, body and spirit experience for patients that I have ever heard of.

I have met some incredible therapists since joining Myton and it is fantastic to have a network to share experiences with and provide support for each other. As a result of these contacts I am now learning Reiki with a therapist that previously volunteered at Myton and the Complementary Therapy Manager Bev is now learning Sound Work.

What would you say to others considering volunteering in the Complementary Therapy team at Myton?

I would say research hospice care first and follow your heart, when you are in the right place you know and it’s amazing. Volunteering at Myton could be one of the best things you ever do, for me it has been a really transformational experience and one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever done. The day that I volunteer at Myton is always the best day of my week.

We are looking for volunteers for our hospices in Coventry, Rugby and Warwick.

If you are interested in joining the Complementary Therapy team as a volunteer,  either qualified or unqualified, and are willing to undergo training to learn how to carry out hand and foot massage and relaxation techniques then we’d love to hear from you!

Please visit one of the links below to view the complementary therapy volunteer role descriptions to find out what is involved (please make sure that you have viewed these before you submit an application).

Coventry

Rugby

Warwick

As a new volunteer to the team you will be required to complete a mandatory training programme. Informal visits are welcome, please call 01926 492 518 and ask to speak to a member of the Complementary Therapy team or email Beverley.Horton@mytonhospice.org

Complementary Therapist Linda pictured with a patient at Coventry Myton Day Hospice in header photo.

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