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"The Rehabilitation Centre at the new Hospice has been a life-saver for me"

As we adjusted to the new normal, we had more time to reach out to our day patients.

Angela is from Ascot and has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for more than 12 years. She has regularly attended the Day Therapy Suite at Thames Hospice since 2017 and recently shared how the physical and emotional support available at the Hospice makes such a difference to her.

Angela says, “I feel very supported at the Hospice and am so lucky to be able to access Day Therapies as well as other services like physiotherapy.

“I do get lonely sometimes but I am able to talk openly with the Day Therapy Team about lots of things that have happened to me during my life. I feel like I can talk about anything, I can be me and feel very comfortable. The staff and volunteers are such good fun and all have a great sense of humour.”

Angela has benefitted from working with the Hospice’s Physiotherapy Team, Suki and Iulian, in the Rehabilitation Centre at the new facility to help with improving her mobility.

Angela adds, “Physiotherapist Iulian is excellent and the Rehabilitation Centre at the new Hospice has been a life-saver for me. I have been feeling quite low recently and he is always very professional and make me feel relaxed.

“I use the bike and the parallel bars in the Rehabilitation Centre to aid mobility in my legs. I am very nervous to move without support but Iulian makes me feel very safe here. We also talk about all sorts of things which is a welcome distraction. It’s what I need.

“With my condition I have had lots of injuries over the years from falling over. I suffer a lot with exhaustion which is very frustrating, but Iulian has really helped with my mobility and has given me confidence.”

Angela is an avid bridge player and during the coronavirus pandemic has adjusted well to playing online this year with her bridge partner. She is also learning to crochet again!

Shortly after interviewing Angela, the UK was plunged into its third national lockdown on 6 January 2021 and the Hospice had to close its Day Therapy Suite again to protect its patients and staff. This is particularly challenging for many of the Hospice’s patients who, like Angela, live alone and benefit greatly from the social interaction that the service provides. At this time our Therapies Team remain in regular contact with every patient to check on their physical and emotional well-being, offering support where needed.

David Boyce, Day Therapies Team Leader, says, “Keeping in regular contact with our patients during this time has made us realise just how frightened, lonely and vulnerable they feel. For some, the heat of the summer without balconies or gardens has been almost unbearable, whilst others have felt confused and frightened with a lot of conflicting public information out there.

“Loneliness has been a key factor and many of our patients have missed the love and support of their Hospice friends and fellow patients. At the beginning of the pandemic, we encouraged our patients to contact each other whilst we worked out safe ways to support them.

“It’s been great to continue to offer our day therapy patients support through regular phone calls and home visits and, albeit short, wonderful to have welcomed back some to Day Therapies when restrictions were lifted. An informal chat can be so important for a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

David adds, “The reaction of our patients to these small acts has made us realise just how much they lean on the Hospice to help them cope with their unenviable situation. We are proud to be there for them during this unprecedented time and can’t wait to welcome back Angela and all our other day therapy patients to the Hospice once again, which we are confident will be soon.”

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