Virtual reiki working well for Saint Francis Hospice patients

Ros Smith

Ros Smith has been part of a successful pilot delivering virtual reiki to patients and families. - Credit: Saint Francis Hospice

I am a reiki master and for a few years now I have also been a volunteer complementary therapist for Saint Francis Hospice.

Before Covid-19, I worked at the hospice every Wednesday. In the morning I would offer reiki treatments to patients who attended the social group at Pemberton Place, then spend the afternoon working with patients on the ward.

Usually I would work hands-on - this can mean either touching the patient, or hands close to, but not quite touching the patient.

During my time at the hospice, I have found the time spent channelling reiki for patients very rewarding and the feedback received from the patients has been extremely positive – they seem to benefit in so many different ways.

Mainly, I think they find the sessions to be calming, giving them some respite from their day to day struggles.


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I do feel that it makes a difference to their wellbeing. I have nothing but admiration and respect for these patients who show positivity and courage dealing with the various stages of their illness. When Covid-19 came everything changed.

Pemberton Place had to close its doors and the social groups were no longer able to continue safely. Volunteers like myself were advised to not come in, to limit people coming into the building. These were all precautionary measures to protect our most vulnerable patients, but it was hard on everyone.

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I regularly checked in with the Complementary Therapy Team who were working to adapt the way they delivered a mostly “hands on” service to patients on the ward and those in the community.

Before this time, my experience of sharing reiki from a distance was limited, but I knew from other reiki practitioners that it could be done very effectively. A pilot “distance reiki” scheme was agreed and since June I’ve been connecting with reiki for patients from my home and sending it to them in their home.

It sounds very “out there” but the feedback has been phenomenal – really positive! Due to its popularity, this service has recently been extended and my colleague Maureen, another reiki master volunteer from Saint Francis Hospice is now involved.

It’s lovely that I am still able to connect with these patients, but I look forward to a time when I can return to the hospice.”

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