Our hospice Therapies team is a versatile team of staff and volunteers, who provide a range of care and treatment for patients both in the hospice and in our community.

One of the volunteers who we would like to shine a light on today is Eleanor Henderson. Eleanor is a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) trained acupuncturist who has been volunteering with us since October 2019 for three hours each week, although she has been unable to volunteer in recent months due to the Coronavirus. Since being with us, she has had great success treating specific conditions such as night sweats, back and shoulder pain, and headaches.

Eleanor had wanted to volunteer at the hospice for a while, after her father was ill and died from a rare case of a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During that time she had also developed an interest in how she could relieve the side effects of his illness, and therefore wanted to use her skills to help give people the support her father never had.

‘There seemed to be a demand for acupuncture at St Wilfrid’s. It was a new role so I was able to make it my own, however, I hadn’t treated vulnerable patients before so I had to shadow Lara for a bit. It was a bit daunting but I was able to suggest things from my own experience and learn from Lara.’

Over six months later and Eleanor is having a great success with her patients, who are allowed up to six sessions each. This success had been particularly around treating patients with night sweats, ‘I went on a course with an acupuncturist who was previously an oncologist, who suggested a few protocols and since using them it’s been great’.

One gentleman in particular, Ivor, was referred for having severe night sweats and within one session she had reduced them by 50%. By the third treatment, she had enabled him to have manageable night sweats once a week and as a result, he was able to sleep a lot better. ‘There really are times when acupuncture amazes me’ she said.

When I spoke to Ivor, he told us that he had never had acupuncture before, but after a few sessions it felt a lot better. ‘Unfortunately I’ve been isolating since February, so because everything’s come to a halt my pain has got progressively worse, but I would like to thank Eleanor for everything she has done and everything you all do at the hospice.’

I also asked Eleanor what her favourite thing about volunteering for the hospice and being part of the Therapies team was.

‘I like meeting new people and being able to make their journey easier. It’s the little things like enabling them to walk a little bit easier or to get a better night’s sleep, or to be able to do the gardening again, those everyday tasks are really important to people and that’s very rewarding. There are a lot of people with some great stories, you can’t make them up!’

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Eleanor for all her brilliant work and we look forward to welcoming her back soon.