Rehabilitation and Wellbeing is a less well known service that the hospice provides. Our team works with patients to help them to regain or maintain their ability to do the things that matter to them for as long as possible.

Hannah Doubleday is the Team Lead for the hospice’s rehabilitation and wellbeing services, and she explains more about what the service has to offer, and the impact that support can have on some of our patients.

“We see people throughout their journey. This could be just after a cancer diagnosis, before they start any treatment, to make them strong enough to withstand it; or it could be related to a progressive neurological condition such as Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis, to help them to regain or maintain physical ability.

We will work together to plan a programme to help them to work towards whatever goal is important to them. The end result can be really empowering for people to be able to do the things that they were no longer able to.”

Our programmes are patient-led, which means that the person has full say in what they want or feel able to do, and ensures that it fits into their life whilst helping them to maintain or regain their independence.

Our focus is never solely on the patient’s condition or impairment, but on what they want to achieve and how we can support that," explains Hannah. "For example, we might work on increasing someone’s ability to lift their arms over their head – not just so they can lift their arms over their head, but so they can get dressed more easily, or so they can reach the higher cupboards in the kitchen because they love cooking.”

“Some of our support is accessed through physiotherapy that targets specific areas of the body, but we offer holistic support at the hospice, for people who need it. Our breathlessness management programme gives targeted strategies to enable people to do more for themselves; like performing tasks such as getting out of bed to go toilet, or managing their breathing so that they can potter in the garden for half an hour. We also focus on the psychological impact of breathlessness on anxiety.

“People usually come in weekly, and we can evaluate where they are that week and maybe give them exercises to alleviate pain, improve balance, or increase strength, depending on what they wish to work on.”

The difference our programmes can make

Hannah explained “We recently looked after a patient who was bent double using a frame when he came to us, and over the course of two months, by following a programme of Pilates, strengthening, and stretching input he is now able to stand upright, on crutches. He can now walk up and down stairs again and it’s increased his independence and ease of access to the community. It’s also brought him closer to his goal of getting back to taking part in his favourite hobby – golf.   

“At the hospice, we have a gym that patients use whether on the inpatient unit or attending outpatient clinic. In one example, we welcomed a patient in her 90s who would come down and do a mile on the bike, to keep herself active. She didn’t want to spend her time with us just sitting there.”

By supporting our hospice you are enabling our patients to benefit from many of our services, just like rehabilitation and wellbeing. This means that our team can make a difference to the quality of many people’s lives by helping them to continue doing what is important to them for as long as they are able.

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