Having a hand massage

Yvonne’s story

Yvonne’s story

Yvonne, 73, from Littlehampton lives a very busy life. At home with her husband, Alan, son and daughter-in-law, two grandchildren and a beloved rescue collie-cross, she doesn’t have much time on her hands.

In 2015, Yvonne was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer – a type of cancer that makes up about one in seven lung cancers. “Quite early on in my diagnosis, my Oncologist referred me to St Barnabas House hospice, primarily for physio to help with my breathing,” said Yvonne. “I’ve been visiting the hospice for many years now, and it’s just wonderful. I’m part of the furniture!

“Many people think that a hospice is just for end-of-life care, but St Barnabas House is there to help, it’s such a comforting and quiet place. They’ve supported me with my condition and all sorts.”

How complementary therapy helps

One aspect of care that Yvonne benefits from at St Barnabas House is the complementary therapy on offer. The range of complementary therapies work on all levels of mind, body, and spirit and aim to relieve stress and tension, aid relaxation, and promote a sense of well-being. All treatments are gentle and are tailored to everyone’s needs and stages of illness.

“They offer many different complementary therapies that I enjoy, such as massages, reflexology, and Indian head massages to name a few,” said Yvonne. “In my sessions, we always focus on what area of my body is hurting the most. I often struggle with my shoulders, so they give me a back massage with suitable oils. I find that the massages help me function better, stand up better and generally feel more like myself.”

Yvonne gets many benefits from complementary therapies. “As well as pain management, I always get a chance to relax with reflexology and have a good natter with the complementary therapists. The staff are so lovely there, it feels like you are spending time catching up with a friend.”

Other activities the hospice offers

The hospice isn’t just for care with physical symptoms – we also offer lots of different activities to get involved in. From mindfulness and yoga to art and gardening, all patients have the opportunity to get involved in whatever activities interest them. Our Living Well service is open to all patients, and offers a range of wellness activities as well as practical support. It’s a great way for patients to meet others in similar situations to them, while trying out something new.

Along with her busy life making lasting memories with her family, Yvonne spends two afternoons a week at St Barnabas House. “In the past, I’ve been to the gardening groups at St Barnabas House, and I’ve met people through the groups that I keep in contact with. I can see the difference these groups make to some of the patients, for some people it’s the only change of scenery they get all week, and for others, it’s an opportunity to be independent and have a social time.”

What is a complementary therapy?

You may have heard the term 'complementary therapy' before and wondered what it really meant. Complementary therapy covers off a broad range of treatments, including; acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy and Reiki. These treatments aren't used at the hospice to replace medical care or treatments, but some patients choose complementary therapies to help some of their symptoms (such as stress and anxiety).