Published on: Tuesday 26 Sep 2023 at 15:01
Many people think that when you go into the Inpatient Unit, it’s for end-of-life care. But patients often come in because they haven’t been able to manage their symptoms.
A short spell on the Inpatient Unit enables our teams to assess patients and put a plan in place to help with symptoms such as breathlessness, extreme tiredness, nausea or pain, at home.
Katy Felgate, Senior Therapist at St Clare, said: “When you are admitted to the Unit, one of the first things that happens is you will be visited by one of the Therapy team, which is made up of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and therapy assistants. We will talk to you about your goals and then make a personal plan with you. We put you at the centre of what we do, asking you what is important so we can help you keep your routines and activities as much as possible.”
This support is rehabilitative palliative care and works alongside any medical treatment you may be having. The team use strengthening exercises, balance training and mobility aids to help improve patients’ quality of life and give them the tools to be as independent as possible when they go home.
Katy added: “Maintaining independence while living with a palliative condition can directly impact your quality of life. We’ve found that working with our team really increases patients’ confidence around what they can achieve – and quite often, it’s the little things that make all the difference.
“Here at St Clare, we consider your goal to be as individual as you! You may want to be able to walk your dog again, put your socks on or sit up in a chair to do a puzzle with your grandchildren. We are led by you: we listen to what you want to do and try and make it happen!”
When Ivan Mykhailenko was admitted to the Inpatient Unit his pain was so bad he couldn’t walk. The doctors worked to improve his pain and Ivan was soon able to get out of bed, walk and sit for short periods. As part of his initial assessment, the Therapy team discovered Ivan loves gardening and has an allotment. His goal was to visit his allotment when he went home from the Unit.
Whilst in the Unit the Therapy team arranged compost, pots, a trowel and plants from the Hospice gardening volunteers. They set this up in the family room, and Ivan potted up some flowers. He said: “I feel alive when I am gardening.”
Katy added: “We asked if Ivan would like any music on while he gardened and he chose his favourite Ukrainian music, which had videos of a part of Ukraine he enjoyed visiting on his holidays. The pots he planted up are now on the patio of his room and with support from the staff, he can water them. The team have referred Ivan for a specialist wheelchair, so when he is discharged, the plan is for him to be able to visit his allotment again.”