Update from the Fortuneswell Clinical Reflexology Service at Dorset County Hospital

As many of you will be aware the Clinical Reflexology CR service I run at Dorset County Hospital for patients undergoing cancer treatment is funded by the Fortuneswell Cancer Trust  FCT. I provide the FCT with annual reports on how the service is operating according to patient feedback and these are delivered at the FCT AGM. Last year the AGM was conducted remotely. This year I am looking forward to presenting my 2021 data findings in person. 

To determine the effectiveness of the clinical reflexology treatment patients firstly identify their main concern using a consent/evaluation form. The data collected from these forms showed the most frequently identified concern was Stress/Anxiety followed by Pain, Swelling, Peripheral Neuropathy, Mobility, Breathlessness, Nausea and Fatigue. Sleeplessness and Digestive issues were often written as a secondary concern but not scored. A significant percentage of concerns expressed by patients were linked to the side effects of their cancer treatment. Noting that patients attributed a high level of stress and anxiety concern scores to worries about covid. Patients gave their concern a score based on their perception of how badly they were affected by their concern ( between 1 being low to 10 being high) before and again after their clinical reflexology treatment. The difference between the before and after scores identifies “if” and “by how much” the impact of their concern was changed after their clinical reflexology session. This kind of research data is known as Patient Reported Outcome Measures PROMS or Patient Reported Experience Measures PREMS. We want to know if what we do and how we do it helps patients cope with the complexities of cancer treatment in hospital. The data showed a significant drop in concern scores following clinical reflexology sessions. The greatest number of patients 553 experienced a drop of 4 points to their concern rating after a clinical reflexology session. 369 experienced a drop of 3 points and 357 experienced a drop 5 points. 278 experienced a drop of 6 points, 238 experienced a drop of 2 points and 203 experienced a drop of 7 points,123 patients experienced a drop of 8 points and 66 patients experienced a drop of 9 points and 55 patients experienced a drop of 10 points. Concluding that 52% of patients experienced a drop of 3-5 points after their clinical reflexology session.

At this point it is worth mentioning that the Clinical Reflexology treatments we (my team and myself) provide for NHS patients in a busy and often stressful hospital setting is not to be compared to reflexology treatments you may find offered by other therapists. Not all therapists are qualified to work with cancer patients. Clinical Professional Reflexology CPR  is highly specialised and has been developed to be concern specific, gentle and deeply relaxing at the same time as being therapeutic and beneficial.            

This is to say thank you very much indeed for the Reflexology in the Fortuneswell out-patient ward. The treatment eased my feet tremendously, yesterday I went for a mile walk which was the first time for over 6 weeks and the stride was very comfortable. My next appearance at Fortuneswell will be on ????  I believe a  further follow up would be beneficial and if you could ask your colleague to look out for me, it would be much appreciated. I will certainly be making a donation to The Fortuneswell Cancer Trust  –  I see if I do it through their Gift Aid scheme they can claim a further 25p for every pound donated.”

The chemotherapy out-reach project will shortly be running at Bridport Community Hospital the clinical reflexology team look forward to supporting our existing and meeting new patients at this site.