Improved day service at hospice

18 December 2017

A NEW day service aimed at improving the wellbeing of people with a life-limiting condition will be launched at Wigan and Leigh Hospice in January.

Following a review of the former hospice day service a new programme of activities and workshops has been developed aimed at helping people to better manage their condition and retain their independence.

Staff at the new Oak Centre, which includes a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, two rehabilitation assistants and a creative therapies co-ordinator, will work with clients to create a set of personal goals which they will help them to achieve.

The Oak Centre model has been developed in response to the review which highlighted that there was a gap in support services for people from early on in their diagnosis.

Oak Centre Manager, Jacqui White, said: "We spent a lot of time reviewing what people in the Borough needed and discovered that upon diagnosis of a life-limiting illness there was a real mixture of support available, often depending upon the type of illness. People felt they were effectively being left in a kind of limbo until they were poorly enough to require medical or nursing support.

"Once we identified this gap we felt that reaching people earlier in their diagnosis could make a huge difference in helping them to maintain their physical and emotional wellbeing and make the most out of life.

"For example, we have already seen several people for assessment who are suffering from anxiety, fatigue or breathlessness and had the Oak Centre had been available for them earlier on in their illness, they may have been able to manage these experiences better and live more independently.

"Our emphasis at the Oak Centre is on empowering people to help themselves through programmes and workshops tailored to their individual needs backed up by the support of our staff and trained volunteers."

The Oak Centre model is a combination of what is working well at other hospices. However, there are few hospices delivering a therapy-led service in this way which takes a rehabilitative approach to encourage independence and self-help. Others are nurse-led or focus on physiotherapy and largely deal with people later on in their diagnosis.

The service is aimed at people both recently diagnosed and those who have been living with their condition for some time, but would still benefit from the Oak Centre.

Once assessed and accepted for the Oak Centre, staff will work with clients to identify suitable activities or workshops for them to attend ranging from symptom control sessions, such as managing breathlessness or anxiety, to learning to play the ukulele. Support will also be available from other hospice services including the counselling service and complementary therapy team.

The aim is to support 300 people with a life-limiting illness in Wigan Borough in in the first year.

Previously those using hospice day services had to be referred by a healthcare professional but those people who want to attend the Oak Centre can self-refer by filling in a form available from the Oak Centre.

Jacqui added: "When someone is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness they may feel afraid or no longer in control of their lives. At the Oak Centre we want to help people face what the future holds and feel in control of their lives.

"Wellbeing at the Oak Centre is more than about helping people with their medical needs, it is about helping them find skills for better living, adjust to their diagnosis, discover new interests and meet new people."

The Oak Centre will officially open to clients on Monday, January 22nd, and will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am and 3.30pm.

The team have already begun assessing people for the Oak Centre and three Open Days will be held before the official opening so anyone interested can find out more.

Anyone in Wigan Borough who has a progressive life-limiting illness and feels they could benefit from attending the Oak Centre is encouraged to contact the team for assessment or visit during one of the Open Days.

To refer to the service or find out more about the Open Days contact the Oak Centre on 01942 525566 or email: oakcentre@wlh.org.uk and include a contact phone number.

Oak Centre Open Days

The Oak Centre team and volunteers will be at hand to answer questions over three Open Days and to help people with the referral process. Complementary therapists will be offering free taster sessions of Reiki and massage and creative sessions will be taking place throughout the day.

Anyone interested in finding out more including members of the public, their families and health or social care professionals are welcome to drop in between January 15th to 17th between 10am and 3pm every day.

The Oak Centre is based at Wigan and Leigh Hospice on Kildare Street in Hindley.

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