Background Woodlands Hospice has run a ‘Supportive Living Programme’ aiming to enable patients to live as well as they can, for as long as they can, for several years. This is a 10 week rolling programme of clinician-led sessions on varied topics relating to patient wellbeing, which is well attended and receives positive feedback. Following completion of this programme, patients are encouraged to attend an informal peer support group where they can share experiences, make friends and grow in confidence. Over time it became apparent that attendance at this group was diminishing and feedback from the patients was that they missed the clinical support they had enjoyed in the 10 week programme.
Aims The hospice was keen to ensure ongoing appropriate support and enable patients to feel safe in the knowledge that their individual clinical needs would continue to be met by the healthcare professionals they had come to know and trust, avoiding a crisis situation or potential hospital admission.
Method Patient feedback was reviewed and discussions held between patients and healthcare professionals following which the ‘Living Support Group’ was re-launched alongside a nurse-led clinic. Feedback from patients following this re-launch was then sought and attendance evaluated.
Results Since its re-launch there has been an increase in attendance by 35% over the course of a year. Feedback from patients and carers indicates that knowing they have access to clinical support encourages them to attend and enables them to enjoy time with other patients in a peer support setting.
Conclusion Patients find peer support, friendship and experience-sharing very beneficial to their overall wellbeing. Having individual clinical support available to them in the ‘Living Support Group’ encourages attendance and thereby promotes patient wellbeing in both clinical and non-clinical attributes.
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