Background LOROS Hospice provides a day therapy service to 150 patients who attend fortnightly, with access to many services. Within the developing day therapy provision, the occupational therapists, physiotherapists and therapy assistants facilitate ‘Wellbeing sessions’ designed to deliver education on a range of topics. Whilst the content of the sessions is informative and educational for patients, the therapists have noticed a growth in the sharing of patient experiences and the positive effect this has on self-esteem, confidence and a sense of cohesiveness. Following a literature search, it is apparent that evidence demonstrating the benefits of therapy-led wellbeing groups in hospices is limited.
Aims To promote the importance of sharing experiences from a patient perspective. To promote therapy-led groups in hospices and perceived patient benefits.
Methods Therapists and therapy assistants facilitate wellbeing groups to promote self-management of symptoms. Topics include mindfulness, managing breathlessness, falls prevention, managing fatigue, anxiety management and relaxation (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2011). Whilst education was the initial driver for sessions, patients have provided narrative feedback which indicates deeper psychological and emotional benefits. Verbal feedback was gathered by facilitators on an informal basis at the end of sessions and recorded in writing.
Results Patients identified making connections with others they had not spoken to before in day therapy. The sessions provided space for new conversations and offered reflective time. Patients identified that sharing their frustrations within the group felt therapeutic and cathartic. Peer support was found to be invaluable in helping individuals to manage their palliative condition.
Conclusion/recommendations Wellbeing groups will continue in the day therapy programme at LOROS as patients benefit from being able to share their experiences with their peers. Therapists will share the above findings with colleagues and explore ways of facilitating groups for the wider patient group who may not attend day therapy.
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