Supporting NHS DCHFT Ocology Staff Well-Being With Clinical Reflexology

The Fortuneswell Reflexology and Cake Event was set up in the Chemotherapy Unit at Dorchester County Hospital and 23 oncology staff representing the Fortuneswell ward, chemotherapy and radiology departments took full advantage of the event. Fortuneswell Complementary Therapy Team Lorna Spicer, Jane Cruickshank and myself gave up our Saturday to provide the Clinical Reflexology sessions.

Readers are aware I’m sure of the Clinical Reflexology Service my colleagues and I provide for oncology patients attending Dorset County Hospital. The therapeutic and beneficial effects of the therapy are reported and verified by processing patient evaluation feedback forms. Last year over 2,000 Clinical Reflexology treatments were delivered to DCH cancer patients. To support service growth and provide evidence of patient need I produce Annual Reports that are presented at the AGM of the funder, The Fortuneswell Cancer Trust. Also Included in the annual reports is feedback from annual Staff Engagement Events. These events offer the opportunity for oncology staff to experience the therapeutic and beneficial effects of Clinical Reflexology first “hand” or should I say first “foot”. Being encouraged to relax and “put your feet up” is bound to enhance a sense of wellbeing.

Wellbeing is holistic term reflecting how a person is feeling physically, mentally and emotionally. Resulting in a state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.

Detrimental to wellbeing is stress, frequently described as feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope from excessive pressures or demands. One area where stress has been found to have a profound impact is the workplace. The NHS is one of the country’s largest employers and the latest NHS annual survey reports over 38% of NHS staff had suffered work- related stress. NHS staff are expected to cope with traumatic circumstances and violent unpredictable patients. Whilst professional training provides the skills to operate to the highest of standards. The lack of funding, unrealistic targets, long and un-sociable working hours and staff shortages do nothing to promote staff wellbeing. General job satisfaction and mental health has been reported by staff to be affected by instances of feeling a lack of support or not having a voice or not being informed about changes that affect them. 30% of NHS sickness absence is due to stress and the financial implications are £300-£400 million pound per year.

There is a growing body of research that provides evidence of the safety and efficacy of complementary therapies in clinical settings. Patient Reported Outcome Measures PROMS and Patient Reported Experience Measures PREMS are tools that are helping shape CAM research studies of the future.

To answer the critics who refute the value of Complementary Therapy use in clinical settings. I would reply that they should be thankful that we have such a forward thinking and inclusive NHS hospital such as Dorset County Hospital on our doorstep. From 2014 the oncology staff at DCH has embraced the Clinical Reflexology Service. Funding for the Complementary Therapy/Clinical Reflexology Service is entirely due to the invaluable support of the Fortuneswell Cancer Trust FCT a local charity that raises funds to enhance the DCH cancer patient experience. Without the FCT the service would not exist.

Patient feedback has supported the sustained development of the service which now provides Clinical Reflexology Mon-Fri at DCH. Staff Feedback comments from the Reflexology and Cake Wellbeing Event included :-Amazing, relaxing experience. Interesting and informative as to how our feet reflect the rest of the body. Therapeutic and Beneficial. Certainly does help wellbeing . © AW2020

Caution : Not all reflexologists are Clinical Reflexologists and trained to a standard to support cancer patients.

Contact  Tel 01305 784986.