I have been privileged to work as a volunteer therapist and Mindfulness teacher at Mary Stevens Hospice Stourbridge. There is a growing amount of evidence about the benefits of mindfulness for both patients and those working in the palliative care environment.
Christopher Johns in Being Mindful, Easing Suffering: Reflections on Palliative Care explains how “Mindfulness is a quality of mind that notices what is present without judgment, without interference. Being mindful guides me to see things as they really are rather than as a reflection of myself. Mindful practice is being aware of ones experience as it unfolds in its unpredictable and unique way.
Trish Bartley in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer: Gently Turning Towards explores a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer. An eight-week course which has been tried and tested over ten years of clinical use, and is targeted specifically for people with cancer.
“Mindfulness is a way of being more present and aware. This offers us many opportunities to appreciate life more. It also enables us to respond more gently to what we find difficult, and by doing this we often find that the experience changes”
A study in 2008 ( Chadwik et al ) found that Mindfulness was beneficial to people with terminal cancer both physically and emotionally. An analysis research available in 2005 concluded that mindfulness based intervention in cancer care had positive results, including improvements in mood, sleep quality and reductions in stress. A further review of studies in 2011 supported this finding. They found significant improvements in anxiety, depression, stress, sexual difficulties and immune function
In 2005 the the use of Mindfulness in hospice care was explored from the perspective of the nurses. The quotes included evidence how for some staff the changes were very significant.
“mindfulness makes me alert to what is happening……I see things that I didn’t see before, I begin to notice. For example when there is a lot of chaos in the room…..is thiswhat she is seeing all day?”
“I think that in itself to be mindful that someone is afraid and not to reject it, not to sugar it over with something but also not be freaked out. But to really be with that feeling and to embrace it….then it seems the person can usually relax”
Mindful presence is the nurse being totally dedicated to the circumstances she finds in the here and now, regardless of what has gone before or what will follow. It is a valuing of “being” over “doing” in the belief that compassionately being present enables the nurse to respond with empathy to the needs in that moment.
Mindfulness is not a replacement for medical care but it can be included within the home, hospice or hospital setting.
For more information please do contact me on 07531 121199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org