Role of a Massage Therapist at End of Life Care
To be a healing presence. A therapist’s best resources when serving the dying person doesn’t come from the techniques they’ve studied but from within their own hearts. They become the space-holder, allowing the dying person his/her own process and experience, and sometimes serve as an anchor for family members and other caregivers.
To enhance the quality of life. Doing what is called for in the moment to ease any form of discomfort is the best approach to take. One minute a therapist might offer a gentle foot massage or hold a hand and the next, moisten dry lips or help turn someone on their side to make breathing easier.
Mother Teresa once said, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” Hospice service is about doing the humble work of each moment as it unfolds. A session with a dying person may include gentle massage, focused touch or no touch at all. The therapist will use a repertoire of skilled touch approaches that are appropriate when the situation calls for them.