Patients, family and supporters share their experiences of our care and their support
Luke in day therapy
07 January 2014
My GP arranged for Kay Hardwick, a community nurse, working for Arthur Rank Hospice, to visit me in his home. During the consultation, Kay suggested I be referred for day therapy. The first day was strange, I felt I was the youngest, I didnt know what to expect, seeing it first hand was quite different to that which I had read & heard about. During the first two weeks - it was just plain strange. It was a different approach, much more relaxed. My wife Ginny and I experienced anxiety, as many of these sessions are planned for the patient. It is suggested the partner or carer is not present as for many individuals this is opportunity for respite but for Ginny and I this was a step too far. We have been side by side ever since an earlier accident and did not want to be separated now. In week three, I felt it wasnt for me and left. Louise Rogers, clinical nurse specialist/day therapy team leader and Ginny however spoke and it was agreed we would return and with a carer support group plan coming together, Ginny could benefit too. Ginny feels the carers group is good for others and the drop in sessions particularly valuable. The time spent there together has allowed trust to develop. I appreciate the communication which has evolved between Louise Rogers and my own GP; it has given me a secondary voice and confidence as the teams have worked together on medication ensuring the best results are achieved. I have encountered significant weight loss but through discussion a plan of special drinks has been included in my diet and this is enabling me to stabilise and control this effectively. This has only been discovered as a result of working together and discussing symptoms. I have also been able to be seen by the respiratory team whilst visiting day therapy. It’s been helpful to see everyone all in one place. Day therapy is not just sitting here and having a piece of Susis delicious Victoria sandwich, it is more than that. It has introduced me to aromatherapy and hand massage, both therapies which I have enjoyed.
Many people receive an eight to 12 week programme but as I reached the end of my 12 week programme, I became poorly and it was suggested two additional weeks would be beneficial. In total I have been with day therapy for 18 weeks and I have found the last six sessions particularly valuable. I have got the message that it’s ok to take care of yourself. It’s about being pro-active about looking after yourself.
Ginny has spent time with Heather, who works on our patient and family support team. Ginny would say she is not a person interested in that type of thing, but even she has found it helpful. She feels its reminded her that there are good people out there she thinks Heather is fantastic. Ginny has been to six session’s altogether and believe it’s changed the way she thinks. I am currently on my second session with Heather and I am more reserved but time will tell. I do feel I have benefited from the time I have spent with Keith during reflections however, a weekly spiritual session which enables people to sit quietly, think, listen and reflect. I tried a reflection session with another member of staff, but as this was a little more religious found that wasnt to my liking. But that is ok, it’s each to their own and other people are comforted by that in the same way I have benefitted from the other reflection sessions.
Day therapy has been quite sociable and allowed us to get to know other patients. I have learnt a great deal about the other patients and there are some really interesting people here. For me and Ginny, it’s been important to face adversity with laughter.
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