Background Exercise and physical activity are important in maintaining independence and wellbeing (DOH 2011). This aspect of care is essential when patients have a life limiting illness or a palliative diagnosis accompanied by a wide range of distressing symptoms such as breathlessness, oedema, and decreased physical ability (Macmillan 2012).
Aim To develop the Physiotherapy services, Lymphoedema service and exercise programmes to effectively meet the needs of patients.
Approach used Daily Enhancing Ability sessions were offered to patients attending the Day Therapy Unit, patients staying on the Inpatient Unit and Out Patients. To provide programmes for health and rehabilitation, patients used the gym equipment and take part in daily exercise session.
The most effective combination of equipment to promote activity was found to include a Shapemaster enabler and seated climber, the Motomed Viva 2, the treadmill and a recumbent exercise bike.
The Tripudio exercise group was introduced, which involved movement with a focus on the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. Principles from lymphatic drainage, massage and low impact aerobic exercise are combined with dance. Providing a fun programme for rehabilitation and maintaining and improving physical ability.
Outcomes The following outcomes were reported by the patients as a result of taking part in the enhanced ability sessions during April 2015.
30 out of 34 (88%) overall level of fitness improved(4 too early to report)
22 (65%) increased confidence
16 (47%) increased strength
18 (53%) increased range of movement
14 (41%) improved balance
14 (41%) improved walking ability
8 (24%) improvement in pain
Comments “Excellent, makes you feel physically and mentally better.”
“Very enjoyable and it’s doing me good.”
“Massive reduction in lymphoedema and improved movement in my arm.”
Conclusion Enhancing patients physical ability through exercise can make a difference to palliative patients.
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