Tuesday 28th April 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2015
Macmillan has helped to create rehabilitation and well-being services at two hospices
The rehabilitation and well-being services are based at the Spring Centre, at the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, and the Starlight Centre, at Peace Hospice Care in Watford.
These new facilities provide innovative, multiprofessional outpatient services and outreach for people recently diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses.
The underlying principle is to empower people, putting them in control of their condition and, where possible, helping them achieve what is important to them. In the first year of the services, 396 people with a life-limiting illness and more than 390 carers and family members have been supported.
The ethos is based on enabling people to live as well as they can. The two centres have seen their rehabilitation teams double in size to reflect this. Building on these services, there are plans for a dietetic scoping project and the recruitment of a well-being and therapeutic coordinator, funded by Macmillan.
Rehabilitation is provided by allied health professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and speech and language therapists. This is an essential part of the journey for anyone living with the physical, functional and psychological impact of a long-term condition and its consequences. Rehabilitation support is widely recognised as being preventative, restorative, supportive and palliative.
Using evidence-based strategies and collaborative agenda-setting, team members work to support individuals in identifying their physical and functional difficulties. The therapists facilitate goal-setting, rating importance and confidence to ensure each goal is realistic and achievable.
In the first year of the services launching, the teams have reviewed the consequences of treatment and the symptoms people commonly face, as well as the evidence base for effective rehabilitation.
They have then developed physical activity groups and fatigue-management workshops, and delivered HOPE (Helping Overcome Problems Effectively): a course developed by Macmillan and Coventry University to provide people with self-help strategies. They have provided breathlessness-management courses, a gardening group, and therapeutic art and writing groups. Other services offered include counselling, patient information, welfare rights, support for carers and complementary therapy. The workshops have been developed through cross-site collaboration and by using each hospice’s skills appropriately, to ensure maximum benefit for patients and carers over a wide geographical area.
A 55-year-old man, diagnosed with tonsil cancer, was referred to the Spring Centre with pain and stiffness in his neck and shoulder. During assessment with the physiotherapist it was apparent that his arm and neck movements were extremely limited. Working on a carefully-staged plan, including neck and shoulder exercises in the gym, acupuncture and consultations with a lymphoedema therapist, his arm and neck movements improved dramatically. He said: ‘The treatment I have received has been vital to me regaining my independence which is really valuable to me – I can do my shopping again and put it away in the cupboards.’
Contact Abby McCarthy, Macmillan Rehabilitation and Well-being Coordinator on 01923 330 330 or 01442 869 550.