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Offering support through comforting touch

Offering support through comforting touch

Using the power of touch, more than 100 Caring Hands volunteers provide hand massages to ease stress and provide comfort to patients and caregivers at Mayo Clinic in the United States.

One of Linda Bonow’s favourite quotes is, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

She is reminded of that saying each time she gives a cancer patient a hand massage as part of the Mayo Clinic programme.

“It can be a long day for patients getting chemotherapy,” she says. “When I go into a patient’s room, introduce myself and offer a hand massage, my hope is to provide comfort and ease.”

Bonow, who has been a volunteer with Caring Hands for three years, says a big part of the experience is sensing what each patient needs at a particular moment.

“Sometimes they want to visit; other times they may want to be quiet,” she says. “I feel that their care and healing is physical, emotional and spiritual, and try to meet them where they’re at.”

Caring Hands began in 2006 as a way to help patients relax and ease their stress.

Volunteers offer hand massages in 31 areas on Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus, including Cardiovascular Surgery, the Cancer Education Center, Infusion Therapy, Medical Oncology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Radiation Oncology, and the Transplant Center, as well as in areas that provide dialysis and chemotherapy.

The programme also extends to the Intermediate Special Care Nursery, where it serves parents whose infants are patients in the unit.

In 2017, more than 100 programme volunteers provided a total of 8,824 hand massages. – Mayo Clinic NewsNetwork/Tribune News Service

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