The programme, called ‘Focus on Living’, aims to help patients with life-limiting conditions to improve their wellbeing and quality of life, by choosing from a range of sessional activities, tailored to their individual needs.
Kath Clark, day services manager, explains: “As part of our vision to provide a truly individualised care package for every patient, and after the success of our year long pilot project ‘Celebrate Life’ in 2013, we are very excited to be launching our new Focus on Living programme.
“We’ve been driven by feedback from our current patients and carers, along with feedback from referrers and prospective patients, to address the needs of patients unable or unwilling to attend traditional hospice day services, such as people who work, people with families and younger people.
“We want to offer a ‘pick and mix’ menu of person-centred activities to empower patients, foster wellbeing, independence and self-esteem, and help them to cope with their diagnosis. The sessions run throughout the year and patients can be referred in to the programme by their care team, or they can refer themselves directly to the day services team.”
Carole Taylor, coordinator of therapeutic services adds: “Our wide range of sessions include mindfulness, arts and crafts, music therapy, positive steps, relaxation, self care groups, fatigue management, complementary therapy, exercise, creative writing and various drop-in sessions for patients and their carers.
“The setup of the sessions is very informal and designed to make patients feel completely at ease in a confidential environment. They are a great way for patients and carers to experience first-hand the services provided here, as well as an opportunity to access support and advice at the hospice and in the wider community.”
One patient, who attended watercolour sessions at the hospice, commented: “I hate Mondays normally, with so many hospital visits and doctors appointments to attend and I am always easily distracted, thinking about my condition and related issues. But at the hospice, I am totally absorbed in what I am doing. Time goes so quickly. I would do it every Monday for the rest of my life; every day actually. If I had a suitcase I would just stay here and paint.
“The volunteers and the staff are all so helpful and so nurturing. Everybody is encouraged to have a go, whether you’re good at art or not. I would encourage anyone in my position to try anything. You can surprise yourself with the right guidance. Always think you can do things, even when you have an illness.”