People who come for day therapy services at a hospice in Mapperley can now help design their own unique support package in a bid to provide flexible services to more patients with a palliative diagnosis.
Patients at Nottinghamshire Hospice work with staff to choose services to suit their individual needs from a menu including specialist nurse support, occupational therapy and symptom control, complementary therapies, arts activities and counselling.
Clinical nurse specialist Liz Morgan said: “Our previous model where people would come for the whole day didn’t suit everyone. We hope our new individualised approach where people can dip in and out of services will attract patients at an earlier stage in their illness.
“You do not have to be at death’s door to come to us for day therapy. Our services are designed for anyone with a palliative diagnosis and are completely free to patients.”
One person to benefit from the new bespoke approach is Ron Gascoigne, 68, from Mapperley, currently on a 12-week treatment programme including breathlessness management, anxiety and relaxation techniques.
When Ron first came to the Hospice after being diagnosed with COPD, he had lost a lot of his independence, and with it, his confidence. One thing he missed being able to do was to walk into the kitchen and make himself a cup of tea, which his breathlessness prevented him doing. He also missed his hobbies, especially woodwork, which he could no longer do at home.
Nursing staff and occupational therapists taught him breathing techniques to manage his symptoms. With the help of a wheeled walking frame provided at the Hospice, Ron can now walk into the hospice kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. And through the hospice activity programme he has rekindled his love of carpentry in the hospice woodwork sessions.
Liz said: “Ron couldn’t get out to his shed so we brought the shed to him. He’s been making bug boxes for our garden and has been sharing his skills with other patients too.
“Simple things like being able to make a cup of tea or continue with a much loved hobby can make a huge difference to people’s confidence and independence. Teaching Ron techniques to manage breathlessness has helped him maintain independence, self-care and self-confidence and helped him to ‘live well.’”
Ron said: “It’s frustrating not to be able to do the things you’ve always done. I’d had that many trips and falls I lost confidence. Today I used the frame to walk across to the dining room and back which is the most I’ve done for ages. Now I’ve got my confidence back. It’s been a life-saver.”
Nottinghamshire Hospice is keen to extend its reach to more patients and their families in its day Therapy Centre and to find out what services meet the needs of the local community. Anyone with a palliative diagnosis can refer themselves to the service. GPs and other healthcare professionals can also refer.
Liz adds: “We hope this new approach of individualised care will encourage people to access our services at an earlier stage in their treatment. If they come to us sooner we can help them manage their symptoms at an earlier stage and give them self-help skills to help them live at home for longer.”