Janet Cairnie’s Complementary Therapy blog

We have two more Volunteer Therapists cleared to start – one is to be placed at Bolton and the second one will be based here at Wigan. Your therapists are trained before they start their role in ‘The Medical Aspects of Kidney Failure’ and Haemodialysis along with what to do if a patient may start to feel unwell due to the rising and falling of their blood pressure whilst on the dialysis machine, the different alarms that may go off and more rare complications such as fitting, needle dislodgement and air in the bloodlines. It really does take a special kind of dedicated person to become a Volunteer Complementary Therapist on a renal unit!

Laura carrying out some of her wonderful massage treatments on a patients’ hand and arm.


On 25 August 2016 I carried out an Induction at Salford for our first male Therapist Christopher. I decided he would feel more comfortable in a Salford Volunteer polo shirt instead of a tunic. He is doing a Level 4 therapy qualification at Bolton College.  This new Level 4 course has been compiled by the VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust) with the help and promotion from the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists). So this course involves advanced Aromatherapy and Advanced Reflexology along with modules on working in clinical settings. This is brilliant news as it means that more therapists will be recognised as being qualified to work in clinical settings, hospices and cancer units all over Britain. Recently the CHNC (Complementary and Natural Health Care Council) have acknowledged my email and are now advertising for Volunteer Therapists for us on their Facebook page and twitter – so hopefully more chance of lovely volunteers who already know their stuff getting to hear about us!

Along with recruiting and training Volunteer Therapists it is necessary to shadow them for their first 2-3 sessions; I feel this is necessary to make them feel comfortable carrying out therapies in a clinical setting. They then have the option of going solo or buddying up with another therapist. On September 8th a new Volunteer Therapist Belinda came into Wigan for her induction around the unit. I need to shadow her a couple of times until she finds her feet.


It is has been over 4 months since our first Therapist Christine and Clare joined us so a HUGE ‘Thank you’ to them for their dedication, commitment and hard work in making patients’ lives on dialysis that little bit more tolerable.

Tuesday 13 September I attended Bolton to interview another 2 volunteers who may be placed there. Hopefully we will soon have three renal units up and running with Volunteer Therapists.

I have had several meetings with Keith Pennington (Chairperson for our local Kidney Patient Association), we voice our opinions, discuss material and ideas regarding an educational video for the renal unit. This video will highlight therapies and what they are, what patients can expect from a treatment and how they work in harmony with conventional medicine within the clinical setting. We hope to start filming the last week in September all being well. We should have 6 Volunteer Therapists that are available by then.

I have been invited to the NKF 2016 Annual Patients’ Conference in Blackpool first week in October; I am looking forward to that. There is a host of patient speakers who will be sharing their experiences of their lives being a dialysis patient.

Until next time! See you soon.


If you have any friends, family members or colleagues that are interested in learning a new skill and training in a short course of Complementary Therapies in order to become a volunteer, then please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you! janet.cairnie@srft.nhs.uk     Tel – 0161 20 64828

Volunteer@srft.nhs.uk         Tel: – 0161 20 68942









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