Background Within the development of out-patient services in collaboration with the Macmillan Wellbeing programme at the hospice, the occupational therapy department established and assisted in the development of a Living Well Group.
Self-management of symptoms can allow patients and carers effected by life-limiting illness autonomy and improved quality of life and group sessions can facilitate socialisation and peer support.
Provide a multidisciplinary programme teaching self-management techniques for a wide range of symptoms
Provide a space for socialisation and peer support
Identify potential need for referral to specialist services
Include outpatients, carers and inpatients
Improve general wellbeing.
Method A seven-week rolling programme was designed, each week covers a different topic and is led by a different professional, and a volunteer is also present for additional support.
Each session lasts 1.5 hours including; one hour focusing on teaching and advice for self-management related to the subject, encouraging active participation, discussion and peer support. 30 minutes break when socialisation between participants is encouraged, cake and refreshments funded by Macmillan further encourage a relaxed environment.
Results Three cycles of the group are complete with a total of 25 attendees; 19 outpatients, three carers and three inpatients. Using an informal referral process has made it easy for external services to refer into the group thus broadening outreach and supporting partnerships with our communities.
A patient satisfaction survey was completed at the end of each session which provided the following feedback:
Following on from the group four were then referred to other services where they could access more detailed and specialist support.
Conclusion The next cycle will commence July 2016, with the addition of dietary advice session. With ongoing advertising and partnerships with our local communities there is potential for the group to grow and remain a feature of the hospice outpatient service, it is clear that self-management techniques, socialisation and peer support are valued by participants.
With ongoing evidence supporting self-management of symptoms in palliative care and socialisation for improved wellbeing, groups such as the ‘Living Well Group’ are significantly relevant and could further support hospice care.
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