Aromatherapy brings sense of calm to seriously ill patients | Latest news

Aromatherapy brings sense of calm to seriously ill patients

Aromatherapist Karen Smith and patient Irene Rowley A unique programme of aromatherapy sessions is proving a breath of fresh air for those living with lung cancer, Parkinson’s and other life-limiting illnesses.

Run at the Rosewood Centre at the entrance to the Dewsbury and District Hospital, short bursts of back, hand and foot massages with essential oils are helping to boost circulation and reduce numbness caused by treatments like chemotherapy.

And the 20-minute sessions are also helping patients to relax physically and speak openly about problems including worries about money and even fear of death.

Funded by The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Kirkwood Hospice, the Rosewood Centre is a specialist unit offering patients a range of different therapies including arts and crafts, relaxation, medicines management education and drop-in days where they can talk privately and candidly about the issues facing them. The centre also has a brand new conservatory where patients can take part in gentle circuit training. Chaplains are at hand to support those experiencing a loss of faith.

Occupational Therapist Margaret Houghton said: “The atmosphere at Rosewood is so relaxed that when people come here they think they are having a day off their treatment.”

One of the chief successes of the centre is that it helps patients who rarely get out to meet people – something retired Mirfield librarian Irene Rowley appreciates. “I come here each week and really look forward to it” said Irene who is living with cancer and recovering from a stroke, “if I wasn’t here I would be sitting at home, when I used to love going here, there and everywhere. The staff are brilliant and they are not just nurses – they are friends.”

Carol Ince from Ossett is living with heart and bronchial conditions that are so acute she cannot walk more than 80 yards at a time. “The activities help me to relax and give me far more energy” said the 64 year-old. “The staff are brilliant and they really are helping me. I don’t go out that much so I am glad of the company.”

Staffed by qualified nurses, physiotherapists, health care assistants and occupational therapists plus a welcoming reception team, the centre is backed by community nurses and GPs – who refer patients to Rosewood. Those attending have ranged in age from 20 to 90.

Julie Pagan, Senior Sister at the Rosewood Centre said: “Most centres like ours’ are run by voluntary sector organisations but being on the site of the hospital means people can attend by ambulance and tie-in a visit to us with an appointment – say for radiotherapy.”