Putting Activity Back into Life: the inception of the Wellbeing Group
Last updated: 9.12am, Wednesday 22nd November 2017
At St. Vincent’s Hospice, we are always working on new ways to continuously improve the quality and availability of specialist palliative care for people all across the community. A key part of this is our promise to find new, creative approaches in the care that we offer, tailoring this to the individual needs of our patients.
With this in mind, our Day Hospice team have developed a new approach to rehabilitation, enablement, self-management and are, becoming the first Hospice in Scotland to deliver a ‘Wellbeing Group’ based on combining exercise and education, for our patients.
There is a growing body of evidence that supports a rehabilitative approach within palliative care, showing that this can be very effective for patients living with a life limiting illness.
This model of care/rehabilitation reflects the well-established and effective format of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Our programme aimed to allow individuals with a life limiting condition to:
• Maintain or increase their functional fitness levels
• Be more active in their daily lives and reduce sedentary behaviour
• Improve their knowledge about their condition and encourage self-management.
How did we do this?
Six palliative care patients (3 male, 3 female) attended an 8 week, 2 hour outpatient Wellbeing Group at St Vincent’s Hospice Day Hospice.
Before starting the group, all participants had a full assessment from our physiotherapist, which included five functional fitness tests:
• Eight foot up and go
• 30 second chair stand
• Single leg stance
• Chair sit and reach
• Back scratch
These assessments were carried out again at the end of the programme to see how our group had progressed.
During the eight weeks the patients were asked to take part in a carefully structured exercise programme, consisting of:
• Seated warm up exercises
• Circuit exercises (aerobics, strengthening and balance) which gradually increased in intensity
• Upper and lower limb stretches
• A relaxation session
Patients were also given exercises to carry out in their homes at least twice a week.
After the exercise session, the Hospice clinical team and external speakers delivered educational talks.
By the end of the eight weeks, all of our patients showed an improvement in at least one aspect of their fitness. The most striking result was the improvement in the 30 second chair sit to stand test, which shows an increase in lower limb strength. This is a fantastic result and has the potential to increase independence by improving mobility and balance.
Additionally, 50% of the patients involved felt confident and knowledgeable enough about their own fitness levels that they actually took up an activity out with the group, ranging from Tai Chi to Pilates.
This project was so successful, that a poster about the Wellbeing Group won 3rd prize at the annual Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care Conference in September 2017.
For the future
Going forward, we are looking to include strategies to measure and improve compliance with home exercise, potentially in the form of a diary. We are also hoping to more accurately measure the impact of the educational element of the programme.
We are extremely proud of our Day Hospice team for all the hard work and dedication they put in to make this possible, helping to offer an improved quality of life for our patients and their families. This is just one of the many ways that we are continuing to increase the range and accessibility of support available for individuals from all across the community as part of our ambitious five-year strategy.