In March 2020, due to the increasing numbers of people affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Kirklees, a number of The Kirkwood’s services were suspended, including those which involve public gatherings of patients, carers, family members and volunteers – this included all of the wellbeing and self-management information sessions for people affected by life-limiting conditions. Following trials in virtual delivery of small pockets of this programme in the latter part of 2020, a virtual wellbeing programme was launched. It was identified that there was a lot of duplication within the different self-management modules and the decision was made to minimise this and bring the different groups of patients and carers together to cover the more generic topics such as breathlessness management, living with fatigue and sleep promotion. This resulted in decreased burden on our community colleagues who were under immense pressure due to COVID-19.
Sessions took place from Tuesday to Friday over Zoom and covered different aspects of self-management and general wellbeing. These included information sessions around living with fatigue, managing breathlessness and sleep promotion. More generic wellbeing sessions were also provided which covered self-care, social interaction and music therapy. Partnerships with pre-COVID-19 partners such as Huddersfield Town Foundation were re-established and joint sessions (e.g. Sporting Memories ) were delivered virtually. New partnerships were developed (Nordoff -Robbins) and initiatives such as an online choir were developed and thrived.
Patient feedback was collected in real time and retrospectively after a 12-week period. Real time feedback was overwhelmingly positive and constructive with a consistent emphasis on their helpfulness, relevance, inclusiveness and enjoyability. The main themes of the retrospective feedback were that the sessions were easy to access, useful, informative and social.
When asked if we could have done anything differently, the only request from some was for face-to-face sessions when restrictions allowed.
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