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Pat, therapy lead

I've been at Willow Wood since 2007, we were moving back to the area after living in Watford and one evening I decided to look at the Willow Wood website.There was a vacancy for a staff nurse position in the Inpatient Unit. I applied, and remember when I came for a look round thinking how much I’d love to work here!

I’d always had a great interest in Complementary Therapies, they really do have a lot to offer both patients and their carers; helping them to relax and ease pain. When I changed my role and moved across to the Day Hospice it was an area I was very keen to develop. I’d always used massage and aromatherapy, and had gained qualifications in Reflexology and Reiki some years before and really believed in their therapeutic benefits. When you’re relaxed your body functions so much better, you sleep better, and your ability to deal with problems increases – you just cope better.

Initially, I started an outpatient service giving Complementary Therapies on one day a week. As our Day Services developed further, I took on a full-time role as CT Lead.I enjoy it so much; when people say ‘I can’t remember the last time I felt like this’ it’s just wonderful. Our therapy rooms are lovely, we have murals on the walls, soft lighting and music. We now offer 50 minute sessions where people can open up, maybe start to discuss their feelings in a very safe environment and really de-stress.

About 18 months ago we expanded our services again, and I now spend two mornings each week at the MacMillan unit in Tameside Hospital. They are only short treatments, but I can talk about our services here and how people can self-refer. Another area where I feel the Complementary Therapies are very valuable is at our Dementia Support Café – carers can be so stressed, it’s lovely to give them a little “me time” when they know their loved ones are being well looked after.

I have some wonderful volunteers, all fully qualified, and some of them have been here right from the very early days. Willow Wood has always believed in a holistic approach to care, we look after the person not the condition and that will never change.

We all work as a team and support each other. The staff and volunteers alike all love it here; it’s not always the easiest of jobs but it’s a privilege to be able to help people at this stage in their lives, and I’m proud to say I work at Willow Wood.

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