Saint Francis Hospice's Sharon Williams, who is a complementary therapist, on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic in the therapies team.

Just over a year ago now, the world changed for everybody.

For the therapies team, we had to make a lot of adjustments quickly. Our roles suddenly became very different.

We were more than happy to help where we were needed most, especially in the first few weeks when the ward was struggling with Covid-19 and staff sickness.

We donned our PPE along with the nursing staff and helped where we could by giving out meals and covering shifts.

As physiotherapists, occupational therapists and complementary therapists, we also had our own patient lists to cover.

As we were unable to offer hands-on treatments, we did assessments over the phone, gave advice and sent out wellbeing packs.

These consisted of advice sheets for things like massage, acupressure points and mindfulness exercises that patients could do with assistance from carers and relatives.

Aromatherapy blends were provided as well as activity sheets and quizzes to keep patients at home occupied.

We also carried on doing weekly phone calls for the patients who used to attend our day services at Pemberton Place, and we did some conference calls so that the patients could talk to each other as well.

Then we started doing monthly mindfulness sessions as conference calls - these have carried on and the number of patients attending has increased.

Throughout all this, members of our team also trained to do the Covid-19 testing in our Pepperell Education Centre and continue to do this still now.

Thankfully normality is slowly beginning to resume. We are able to start inviting our patients to attend outpatient appointments again. Planning for groups is also in progress, which we are all very excited about.

So as a team, we realised that many of the hospice staff have been working from home, or working from a desk where they may normally have been out and about.

We have sadly not had the physical or social stimulation we used to have. So we came up with the idea of Frankie’s Five, whereby staff and volunteers can sign up, pay £5 and do three exercise sessions per week, one mindfulness session and have one pamper session for themselves.

Hopefully the staff members will benefit while we raise much-needed funds for our hospice.

Find out more about Saint Francis Hospice at