A 68 year old Gloucestershire woman who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 20 years ago has been learning a new skill thanks to the support of Sue Ryder, and she says it has helped give her hope following a year spent in multiple lockdowns.
Sue Duckworth, from Bishops Cleeve in Cheltenham is learning the new skill as part of a virtual day hospice programme offered by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
“I heard that Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s day hospice offered support for people with neurological conditions and before the pandemic hit I attended the hospice for two eight week courses. It was absolutely marvellous,” Sue shares. “Sue Ryder’s support helped me to switch off and regain my strength so I could come back home and lead my life again.
“When the pandemic hit Sue Ryder made sure the support could continue with a programme of virtual sessions and I’m currently attending Zoom sessions two to three hours each week from the comfort of my own home. I attend all kinds of sessions including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and a session on hobbies. I have also been able to speak to the hospice’s chaplain and family support team too.
“It is so wonderful to be able to re-connect with people again after being isolated for the past 14 months during various lockdowns. The sessions have given me so much support and have really helped improve my wellbeing.”
As part of the hobbies session Sue has been learning photography virtually with the help of hospice volunteer, John Clayton. And the sessions have proved a big hit with Sue. “I have wanted to learn photography as a skill for some time,” she shares. “I have really been enjoying the sessions and I have picked up so much from them. I have loved learning a new skill and I’ve found capturing the beauty of nature really interesting. When taking photos you focus on what is in front of the lens and everything else just melts away. Since taking the course I have really started to look at things differently.
“I love photographing the sky and sunsets and the various phases of the moon – all with my smartphone camera.
“What I have really loved about the virtual course is being able to see other patients’ work too. It is really interesting.”
As well as the photography sessions, Sue has received specialist support from the team of Sue Ryder experts at the hospice as part of her individually tailored course.
Sue shared, “I have been supported by the hospice’s occupational therapist so I can make the most of my days and the physiotherapists have been helping me too, even making a home visit to help measure me up for a three wheeler. I have been really enjoying doing the physical exercises via zoom, helping me exercise my muscles. After the sessions I feel relaxed and my muscles feel much looser.”
Sue hopes sharing her experience of the service will encourage others living with neurological or palliative conditions in Gloucestershire to find out more about the virtual support offered by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
“For anyone thinking of joining the virtual sessions offered by Sue Ryder I would say just go for it. It is really very supportive and everyone on the sessions is so friendly. The Sue Ryder team give so much support.”
Inspired by her new found skill, Sue is already planning her next photography project. “I’m planning to take photos of flowers in my garden at their different stages of flowering,” Sue shares. “I really enjoy taking photographs up close when the flowers are not completely in focus as I think this gives the image a really interesting effect. I paint too and the added benefit of taking the photography course is that I can now paint from my photos.”
For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/leckhampton
To find out more about making a referral to the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice virtual day hospice service email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured: One of the photos captured by Sue on her smart phone following her photography sessions she has taken part in during Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s virtual day hospice. Also pictured, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice virtual day hospice delivers virtual sessions support to patients in the comfort of their home.
About Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice:
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice is the only palliative care inpatient unit in Gloucestershire and provides expert palliative care and support for people who are living with a life-limiting condition, as well as supporting their families.
Our 16-bed hospice is surrounded by beautiful, tranquil countryside which complements the specialist care and support we give to those with life-limiting conditions and their families.
In addition to our inpatient unit, our virtual day hospice service helps people living with long term conditions and our Hospice at Home service provides care for people in the local community who prefer to receive palliative care at home.
Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and family support team. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.
Whether somebody is dealing with a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one, we’re there when it matters. Sue Ryder staff and volunteers provide people with the compassion and expert care they need, to help them live the best life they can.