Monday 3rd December 2012
Erin Baker and Diane Morgan discuss the success of using the Lebed method - a therapeutic movement programme.
Willow Burn is a small hospice offering palliative care services. Last year, an opportunity arose to develop its day services. This involved changing the hospice's focus from a medical/nursing model of care, where patients often attended for an indefinite period, to a rehabilitation model, where clear goals and outcomes are recorded and attendance is time limited. We also wanted to dispel the myth that the hospice is for only very ill patients. The primary aim of the rehabilitation model is to enable people with life-limiting conditions to maximise their full potential.
After researching rehabilitation options, we decided on the Lebed method and undertook a three-day training programme to gain our instructor qualifications. This was funded by Macmillan.
The Lebed method
The Lebed method is ‘a therapeutic movement programme for […] people with any type of chronic illness, such as cancer, arthritis, MS or fibromyalgia’.1
The programme combines stretching with gentle movements from jazz dance and ballet.2 The routines, designed by the instructors, use props, such as hats, canes, feather boas, scarves and maracas. Using these props adds an element of fun and helps to increase strength and function. During their first session, patients complete a needs assessment to determine the nature and duration of attendance.This will range from 6-12 weeks. Their progress is then monitored using MYCAW (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing) - a holistic outcome measure.
The Lebed method is complemented by a range of therapeutic day services led by the Therapy Team. These include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, tai chi, creative writing, art, complementary therapies and other therapeutic games. The flexible service enables all patients to access multiple activities on a sessional basis to suit their interests and goals. Patients also have access to other multidisciplinary professionals.
Following the programme
After the programme, patients are either signposted to local facilities, such as the local gym, or they can access a six-week ‘Active Steps’ outpatient group, which is run at the hospice. This was set up as a self-referral group for people with cancer and other conditions. The group focuses on the Lebed exercises, but we offer sessions on managing breathlessness, relaxation, work issues, nutrition, massage and foot care.
Due to the success of our Active Steps programme, patients requested we set up an advanced Lebed class on a weekly basis, which has also been extremely successful.
We have also shared our knowledge and expertise with other local hospices and schools, which are now awaiting their Lebed training.
Limited space within the hospice means class numbers are limited. However with plans for a new, purpose-built facility, patient numbers could potentially double.
Email Diane Morgan, Macmillan Therapy Assistant, Willow Burn Hospice.
Visit the Willow Burn website.
Visit the Lebed Method website
1. Flynn A. Proposal: The Lebed Method: Healthy Steps. For the Breast Cancer Survivor And Those With Chronic Illness. Multicare Adult Rehabilitation. 2009. Pg 3.
2. Lebed Davis S. Thriving after Breast Cancer. 2002. New World Digital Publishing. Pg xi