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P-144 Whose choice is it anyway?
  1. Maureen Howe,
  2. Anthony Walsh,
  3. Jackie Green and
  4. Margaret Hollinshead
  1. St Catherine’s Hospice, Lancashire, UK


Background The rehabilitation team consists of two part-time physiotherapists, totalling just over one whole-time equivalent. Most of the time they work single-handedly. Whilst reviewing their roles, the Rehabilitation Team identified two main concerns.

When patients want to do an activity that requires more than one person to facilitate it, the physiotherapist would have to wait for another member of staff to be available.

There were missed opportunities for some patients for example; those that were independent and in the hospice for symptom control.

Aims To increase the rehabilitation resource.

Every patient to have options for activities, and enable them to continue these outside of the hospice environment.


  • Patient focus groups met over a three month period to determine which patient needs were not being met

  • Applied to St James’s Place Foundation for funding of £35 000 to establish a training programme for volunteers

  • Recruited and trained a team of volunteers, two people per week day.

Results Nine volunteers trained – induction, full moving and handling, some had fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness management training. Each volunteer has an average of 5 contacts per day. The rehabilitation team now includes trained volunteers. They support the nursing and rehabilitation teams to give patients an increased choice of activities and provide another pair of hands for mobility or functional assessments.

‘Jonny was really good with my Mum this morning, showing her how to get out of bed and spending time with her in Day Therapy’ – Daughter of the patient

‘Having nursing assistants with enhanced skills and knowledge working alongside volunteers has had such a positive impact on the team’s ability to carry out the necessary assessments to meet our patients’ needs without delay.’ – Sister In-Patient Unit

Future Developments

  • Consideration of a seven day service

  • Further training of the volunteer team.

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