World Wellbeing Week – In Focus with Jacqueline Boyd McConville

This week is World Wellbeing Week, and in these challenging times, taking steps to look after our own wellbeing has never been so important. 

Friends of the Cancer Centre proudly funds four complementary therapists who provide vital support in helping people with dealing with side effects of their treatment, improving their physical and emotional wellbeing. Our therapists can offer massage, reflexology and aromatherapy treatments for both inpatients at the Belfast City and Royal Victoria Hospitals and outpatients at the Macmillan Support & Information Centre. These treatments can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, and gives patients and carers a chance to take some time for themselves, away from hospital appointments.

To find out more about the vital support they provide, we caught up with our complementary therapist, Jacqueline, to find out more about her role and how she is supporting local cancer patients. 

What is Complementary Therapy?

It simply means that therapies, such as reflexology, aromatherapy and massage can be provided by the complementary therapy team alongside a person’s conventional medical treatments. Feelings of wellness are fundamental to overall health and it is our aim to provide individuals with a choice of complementary therapies that promote relaxation and enhance feelings of well-being. 

What does your role entail?

As a complementary therapist I deliver one-to-one treatments to both oncology and haematology patients. Treatments can be carried out at the bedside in both the Cancer Centre and the Tower Block. People also come along to the Macmillan Support and Information Centre where we have bespoke therapy rooms, designed to promote patient comfort. At the first appointment we chat to the person about their diagnosis, medical treatments and how this has impacted on them. Then we tailor the sessions to suit their individual needs.  At times therapies may help to relieve symptoms associated with cancer treatments such as pain, fatigue and anxiety. We also offer treatments to carers, as their wellbeing can be directly affected by caring for a loved one with cancer.

How do you support patients and their carers?

We can’t eliminate stress from daily life but we can support patients and their carers by helping them find ways to manage their stress levels.  Relaxation, breathing exercises and touch therapies can be valuable coping mechanisms for minimising stress. We can also show them some practices they can do at home.

How important is Friends of the Cancer Centre to your role?

The support of Friends of the Cancer Centre is key to the running of the complementary therapy service.  As well as funding all the essential oils used for treatments, my post is one of four funded by the charity within the complementary therapy service. The range of treatments available to patients and their carers would not be possible without the funding provided by Friends of the Cancer Centre, so a big thank you to those who are supporting the charity which helps us to provide comfort and solace to our patients.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, or if you are caring for a loved one with cancer, you can avail of free complementary therapy treatments. To book an appointment please call the Macmillan Support and Information Centre directly on 028 9063 8980.  

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