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Hands of Hospice

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Hands of Hospice

Hands of Hospice: Competent, Compassionate, Clinical Massage Therapy for Hospice


“Healwell has the tag line “We Make Massage Therapy Matter”  –  they do more than that!!

I work at Alive Hospice as a Volunteer Coordinator and attended the Hands of Hospice course… WOW!!!  I encourage everyone doing the beautiful work of hospice to attend. This two day course is a study in learning about yourself and becoming more present in the moment, not only with patients and/or caregivers but yourself as well.  You will learn how to genuinely listen and offer your gift of being truly present with others and yourself.  Rediscover what you’ve thought you already know.”

~ Joy Nielsen, Volunteer Coordinator at Alive Hospice


Providing massage therapy and skilled, compassionate touch to people and their families at the end of life requires much more than a good heart and a pair of willing hands.  The right foundation will enable the massage therapists and volunteers who work in hospice programs to make a measurable, value-added contribution to the care the other members of the care team provide.  Properly trained massage therapists can provide the kind of care that goes far beyond “nice” and “comforting” to a place where the experience of the end of life process becomes one of unparalleled support, presence and touch-oriented compassion.


Healwell is raising the bar for massage therapy’s role in the future of how humans care for humans.  98% of the hospice organizations in America claim to offer massage therapy, but meaningfully-integrated massage therapy provided by uncommonly compassionate and skilled massage therapists is a rare thing in those organizations.  Neither administrators nor massage therapists understand that specialized training in not only hands-on skills, but in true presence, are essential to making a meaningful, safe and effective contribution to care.

This course is available to hospice organizations. If you are interested in offering this training to your staff and volunteers, please email

This course is open and relevant to all hospice employees and volunteers.
It is NOT just for massage therapists.
Massage therapists can get 16 CEUs (recognized by NCBTMB) for this course.
This course is approved for 14 contact/clock hours of continuing education credit provided by the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois in collaboration with the University of Illinois Department of Family Medicine for the following professions:
  • Acupuncturist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Counselor-Professional/Clinical
  • Dentist/Dental Hygienist
  • Dietitian/Nutritionist
  • Marriage and Family Counselor
  • Nurse (APN, RN, LPN)
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Occupational Therapist/COTA
  • Physical Therapist/PTA
  • Psychologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Social Worker


  • 10-15 participants
  • 2 instructors with a combined 35 years of experience in end of life care, contemplative practice, and clinical massage therapy
  • Course provides 16 continuing education credits for massage therapists, but is open and relevant to all hospice employees and volunteers


*Cost of the course is a flat fee. Healwell is responsible for instructors’ travel, lodging and food expenses.

Lauren “Cal” Cates is one of Healwell’s founders and its Executive Director. In addition to their duties providing and supervising massage for medically complicated, oncology and end of life patients at numerous hospitals in the Washington, DC area, Cal speaks around the world on a variety of topics related to integrative medicine, emotional self-care for practitioners and the mechanics and politics of introducing massage therapy into clinical settings.

Cal has been participating in research, teaching and developing curriculum for massage therapy courses focused on hospital-based practice, oncology massage and end of life care since 2007.  Cal is passionate about elevating the profession of massage therapy and also about broader and more seamless integration of massage therapists into mainstream healthcare.



Kerry Jordan is Healwell’s Operations Director. She brings 20 years of experience as a yoga and meditation instructor as well as 16 years in massage therapy.  She has extensive background in teaching pathology and physiology and adapting massage therapy for special populations.  She provides massage in hospitals throughout the Washington, DC metro area to adult and pediatric palliative care patients.