Introduction Traditional hospice delivery of rehabilitation to outpatients and day service attendees involved face-to-face appointments and group sessions. For our organisation, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic halted this, and became a catalyst for change. It was important to identify and achieve alternative methods of delivery to ensure the valuable education, support and interventions for our patients and families could continue.
Method A project team, involving a range of roles including Communications, Rehabilitation, Quality and IT was established to create and deliver a host of educational online resources accessible on the hospice website with written information, illustrations and recorded videos. A virtual timetable of sessions including Living well with Breathlessness, Exercise circuits and Adapted Yoga was created for people to access from home. Alongside this project, in order to support more people to access these developments and address any potential inequalities, a team of volunteers confident with technology were recruited to support individuals in improving IT skills, accessing online resources and joining online sessions. This even included providing a laptop on loan if needed.
Outcomes With information, advice and recorded demonstrations now readily available on the website the hospice has provided significantly greater opportunity for people to be better informed about self-management of their symptoms and condition, and subsequently has therefore furthered its reach and improved understanding of the role of palliative rehabilitation. The alternative method of accessing sessions and groups has created greater choice for individuals, and options according to their preference as to whether to travel and attend a face-to-face appointment, or access the session from their own home, or even workplace. Some of the historical and familiar barriers to accessing rehabilitation such as transport, work commitments, family commitments and the weather have been overcome as a result.
Conclusion The project will be further evaluated via website analytics, feedback questionnaires and group attendance statistics.
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