Background The opportunity to access exercise classes through the hospice is a more recent phenomenon, challenging the attitudes of staff and patients about the role of rehabilitation and exercise within palliative care. The physical and emotional benefits of exercise are well documented, so in response to this, and patient demand, ‘drop in’ seated exercise classes were created.
To provide the opportunity to exercise in a safe environment
To improve the fitness of the palliative patient group
To promote independence and wellbeing within the palliative patient group
To raise the profile of physiotherapy.
Approach A one-hour seated exercise session is delivered by a physiotherapist twice a week. Every attendee completes a Timed Up and Go test (T.U.G) prior to starting their first class, this test is repeated every fourth attendance.
Outcomes Classes have run for eight months, in that time 43 people attended. Out of these:
10 were both ambulatory and attended more than four sessions.
The T.U.G results are significant, demonstrating that 100% of participants achieved a quicker walk time on subsequent T.U.G testing.
Only one subject recorded a slower time on their fourth test.
Conclusion These results suggest that participants have achieved an improvement in their fitness, and using the T.U.G as a guideline, 66% of attendees have reduced their walk time to <14 seconds and therefore, could have reduced their risk of falls.
The provision of a weekly exercise group has put physiotherapy ‘on the map’. Verbal feedback from patients attending the group has been overwhelmingly positive: “It’s made me feel more confident” and as a result the group is becoming more popular.
These data shows that small service developments can make a big impact on palliative patients and the opportunity to exercise can and should be made available to all patients.
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