Living Well: a new name for weekly rehabilitative support programme
Arthur Rank Hospice Charity is rebranding its supportive and rehabilitative eight-week programme to the Living Well service, following consultation with patients, relatives, healthcare colleagues and volunteers.
The service, previously known as Day Therapy, is provided from the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre, in Wisbech and the Arthur Rank Hospice, in Cambridge.
It provides specialist advice, practical and social support to an average of 173 patients per month, who are living with a life-limiting condition.
Whilst the programmes offered in Wisbech and Cambridges differ, both are holistic in their approach and typically involve once a week contact for eight weeks. Patients are introduced to and engage with the Charity’s expert team, who spend time discovering what is important to each person, supporting them to shape and achieve goals that will make a real difference to their everyday life. Sessions can involve everything from managing breathlessness, anxiety or fatigue to complementary therapy, consideration of advance care planning to seated exercise groups, one-to-one symptom management to spiritual counselling, life celebration and creative activities to psychological support.
Sue Rossitter, Joint Team Lead, Living Well Service (Cambridge), explained the reasons behind the name change: "'Living Well’ better encapsulates the many services available to our patients, as well as reflecting the support offered to families and carers through our Carer Support Group, introduced last year.
"The team draws on the specialist expertise of our multi-disciplinary team of nurses, healthcare assistants, life celebration and creative activities coordinator, physio and occupational therapists, complementary therapists, chaplain and volunteers, with each patient helping shape their own personal programme of support.”
As shared in the charity’s recent Unexpected Chapter Series, since the pandemic began the Living Well team has worked hard to respond to the needs of patients and their families. The team have, for example, moved group sessions online which previously took place face to face; supported patients by phone; and enlisted trained volunteers to offer more social support via our caring communities programme; this programme has made more than 1000 calls, providing invaluable social support to people often isolated as a result of illness.
The diagnosis of a life-limiting condition often has a huge emotional and physical impact on patients and their families. Each person’s prognosis is different and life expectancy at this point may range from days to years. Personal circumstance, the specifics of an illness or condition and someone’s network of support can all have a huge influence on their quality of life. At Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, a central team manages referrals, directing individuals to the most suitable service for them.
The Living Well service typically sees patients who are in the earlier stages of their diagnosis and those who might need assistance to manage the symptoms of their condition. As such, this is likely to be the first Hospice service patients have contact with. Having experienced the benefits of the Living Well service, patients often feel more open to being reintroduced to the programme at a later stage, as well as being referred to other Hospice services when needed.
Claire Walpole, team lead at Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech, said: “The Living Well team provides a supportive environment for patients and carers. The aim is to enable patients to live well and achieve what is important to them during this phase of their lives.
"Understandably patients and their families have many unanswered questions when they receive a life limiting diagnosis. We work closely with them to understand the specific challenges they face and how they can minimise or eliminate these. Our flexible and holistic programme of activity and network of support can be developed as their condition changes.
"We find that because the patient is central to and leads these discussions, they often experience an enhanced quality of life, with family members or carers benefitting too”.
You can discover more Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s Living Well service at arhc.org.uk/livingwell. Referrals can be made by healthcare professionals, such as a district nurse or GP at arhc.org.uk/refer or by calling 01223 675800. Please contact the team directly to ascertain information regarding the specific services available at each location.